The NFL’s taunting problem is quickly becoming less of a problem.
After 11 of them in the first two weeks of the season, only two taunting fouls have been called in fifteen Week Three games, via Sports Business Journal.
Without studying every post-play interaction in every game, it’s impossible to know whether officials have called it less frequently, or whether it’s happening less frequently. Regardless, the coaching point is a simple one — don’t celebrate in an opponent’s face.
CBS rules analyst Gene Steratore predicted that the calls would dip as players listen to the instructions and mandates from the coaches.
“There’s a difference between celebrating with your team and taunting your opponent and in the offseason, the coaches brought that concern to the Competition Committee,” Steratore said on The NFL Today. “I have to say after two weeks seeing this amount of penalties called, the officials are doing exactly what they’ve been asked to do.”
That’s the thing to remember about this. It came not from the owners but the coaches. And multiple coaches have explained the rule and confirmed that they support it, from Ron Rivera to Mike Tomlin to John Harbaugh to Bill Belichick.
If there really was less taunting in Week Three (and not the same taunting but fewer calls), the product didn’t suffer at all. The games were exciting and players celebrated on-field accomplishments worthy of celebration.