November 08, 2011
If it's illegal in the NFL to celebrate while falling to the ground, or wear socks of an inappropriate length, or honor a Hall of Fame quarterback by putting on black shoes, then surely it has to be illegal to celebrate a tackle-for-loss by crawling on the ground and pantomiming use of a machine gun like Moise Fokou(notes) did on Monday night.
The Philadelphia Eagles linebacker made a solid open-field tackle on Matt Forte(notes) midway through the fourth quarter of Philly's loss to the Chicago Bears. Knocked to the ground on the impact, Fokou celebrated by using his hands to crawl a few yards down the field and punctuated the effort with a brief machine-gunning.
The outrage here isn't about the celebration itself (it was dumb, not offensive) but in the NFL's inconsistent application of on-field rules. Taunting with a throat slash has been illegal for 12 years, but Jared Allen's(notes) calf-roping is allowed. Players can jump into the stands to celebrate but can't use a pylon as a prop. Fokou can use a fake machine gun to mow down imaginary defenders, but standing over a quarterback for a beat too long brings about a 15-yard penalty.
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