It is now the No Fun League.
Former NFL star wide receiver Terrell Owens had a multitude of touchdown celebrations that created highlight packages and headlines for the league, from his famous pom-pom celebration to mimicking Ray Lewis and even pulling a Sharpie out of his sock and signing a football for a fan.
But Owens isn’t celebrating the recent NFL rule that bans the slam-dunk celebration between the goal posts.
In fact, Owens sees it as a sign of the times and just the latest example of the NFL taking the personality of the league. He likened it to "going to the movie theater and there’s no popcorn, no butter, no sodas. It is part of football, part of the culture." Throw in a ban on Twizzlers at the next matinee and Owens would certainly be onto something.
But his point remains that the league is eliminating a rather innocuous celebration and it has him perplexed.
“It’s what else can you do to take away from someone else’s excitement? It’s kind of mind boggling. They are taking all the creativity, all the excitement away from the game. It isn’t a situation like basketball where you dunk on someone and it is taunting,” Owens said in an exclusive interview with Yahoo Sports and Shutdown Corner. The interview was set-up by celebrity booking agent Ryan Totka.
“It’s sad. It’s one thing after another. I think guys will chime in. It’s just that they make rules that change every year, like defensive backs – the five-yard rule. They talk about it then they go away. At some point, players have to stand up for something. We have to be able to celebrate within the confines of the game.”
The rule is the latest example of the NFL trying to clamp down on excess in celebrations, to the point that it will very shortly eliminate any originality from the game. Even old-school fans who didn’t appreciate the theatrics of Owens still saw the fun emanating from his free spirited celebrations. There was never any taunting in the celebrations, just a little bit of showmanship.
Though now retired, Owens is set to be on the reality show "Celebrity Apprentice" and keeps busy with his website, TerrellOwens.com, corporate appearances, celebrity charity basketball games and he still works out daily. He counts himself a fan of the game but he isn’t standing up to cheer this latest rule.
Saying “I just don’t understand it,” he noted that the league during broadcasts and even in commercials often highlights end zone celebrations, including the football dunk. To that end, last summer, the NFL Network highlighted their top 10 touchdown celebrations of all-time.
“You talk about it being the No Fun League. It is only getting worse from the standpoint of really taking away from the game in a sense,” Owens said. “I was an entertainer, that’s how I look at it. They put a lot of work into making the NFL what it is, not just on the field but as personalities.”
Kristian R. Dyer contributes to the Shutdown Corner Blog and can be followed at @KristianRDyer