January 17, 2011
When you talk big, you'd better back it up. And if you back up the big talk, you deserve to celebrate even bigger. That wasn't a problem for the New York Jets during and after the team's decisive 28-21 victory over the New England Patriots in the AFC divisional playoff.
A bit of the celebration didn't please CBS announcer Jim Nantz, though. After Shonn Greene(notes) scored a late game-sealing touchdown, many Jets, Rex Ryan included, converged in the end zone to whoop it up and send one final message to the Patriots and their fans. Nantz didn't like this, particulary Greene's "nap time" celebration, which saw the running back fall to the ground and mimic that he was going to sleep.
"I've never understood the absurdity of all the self-aggrandizing and now you're going to cost your team 15 yards on the kick and you're going to give Brady and his unit a chance to do something."
All right, Jim. Come on down from that soapbox and let's talk about this. You're right that it's absurd for a player to cost his team 15 yards for an incident that was completely unnecessary. And you're right that Brady and his team were going to get another chance to do something. But did you have to go with "absurdity" and "self-aggrandizing" when ripping Greene's celebration? You know who's self-aggrandizing? People who use the phrase "self-aggrandizing." I assume you've been introduced to the pot and the kettle, Jim?
The real culprit here is the NFL for having lame rules in place that penalize players for having fun. Greene didn't get flagged for doing something wrong -- like taunting or disrespectful behavior -- no, he was penalized because he intentionally fell to the ground in the course of celebrating a touchdown. That's all.
Jets players flying around with their arms out like a kid in a meadow in an insurance commercial? Cool. Rex Ryan rumbling down the sideline and into the end zone (possibly producing another richter scale measurement in the process) to chestbump players and get his back jumped on by Mark Sanchez(notes)? Legal. Catching some game-clinching Z's in the end zone? Flag, and the contempt of Jim Nantz and the Patriots.
New England receiver Deion Branch(notes) didn't like any of the celebrations. "They don't deserve me nor my teammates' congratulations for them to act like that," he said. "You can tell they're not used to being in this position."
That's some tremendous athleticism by Braylon. Figures he'd be able to shine in an athletic endeavor in which dropping a pass wasn't an option.
Nantz was quiet about the backflips and we'll see if he changes his mind about the Jets next week, when he'll call the AFC championship between New York and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
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