Is the NFL lightening up? No fine for Ezekiel Elliott's funny Salvation Army celebration

The most memorable moment from “Sunday Night Football” wasn’t a touchdown or any other single play. It was Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott jumping in the Salvation Army kettle after a touchdown.

It was hilarious, not intended to taunt anyone and even drew some attention to a good cause. So Elliott got a 15-yard penalty for it.

Maybe the NFL really is reconsidering its stance on celebration that sucks the fun out of the game. Because before most people had even finished their coffee on Monday morning, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy let everyone know that Elliott would not be fined.

Elliott said if he was fined he would donate to Salvation Army, and he made it a point to say he’d make the donation anyway after it was announced he wouldn’t be fined.

There’s a reason for everything, and there’s a reason the NFL wanted to get the news out right away Monday that Elliott wouldn’t be fined. Last week Pro Football Talk said the NFL would consider relaxing its celebration rules, which nobody seems to like. It’s fine to penalize obviously over-the-top or clear taunting celebrations, but when guys are getting 15 yards for mimicking a baseball pitcher or shooting a jump shot over the goal post with the ball, as Denver Broncos receiver Emmanuel Sanders and Washington Redskins tight end Vernon Davis respectively did this season, something is wrong.

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Maybe, if even the NFL itself can see the humor in Elliott’s kettle leap, we’re moving toward the game adding in a little fun and humor again.

Ezekiel Elliott won't be fined for his Salvation Army kettle celebration. (AP)
Ezekiel Elliott won’t be fined for his Salvation Army kettle celebration. (AP)

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Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!