If 2017 was about cherishing the return of NFL touchdown celebrations, 2018 was about taking those dances to the next level. No need to worry, though. The league delivered and then some. This season saw players paying homage to the celebration originators, mocking themselves and launching a thousand or so memes.
Here are your top 10 touchdown celebrations in 2018.
10) Week 1: Cam Newton rides the horse in the end zone
Like everything he does, it’s Cam Newton’s smile that sells this celebration. You almost want the Panthers to buy him a pony just to see his reaction.
9) Week 5: JuJu Smith-Schuster gives birth to a football
The shades of Randy Moss “mooning” the crowd are too hard to ignore here. As far as graphic celebrations go, Smith-Schuster certainly gave fans quite a visual after watching him put six points on the board yet again. It was original for sure, but one we probably don’t need to see again.
8) Week 8: Kenyan Drake does the Carlton dance
The dance was flawless, but if Kenyan Drake isn’t careful, he might get on Alfonso Ribeiro’s bad side.
7) Week 4: Sterling Shepard-Odell Beckham Jr. play ‘Rock, Paper, Scissors’
Imagine yourself in this situation: You’re in the NFL, you just scored a touchdown, your heart is racing and Odell Beckham Jr. himself is coming to congratulate you, but before you can celebrate he challenges you to a duel. Do you go with rock, paper or scissors?
6) Week 3: Marquise Goodwin-Kendrick Bourne handshake
Here’s a general rule of thumb: If your NFL celebration is good enough to be broken out by NASA engineers who are celebrating the fact that they just successfully landed a machine on a planet roughly 34 million miles away, then it’s easily one of the best of the year.
5) Week 3: Hooping on the gridiron
The basketball celebration isn’t new. The Atlanta Falcons famously did it with the Sunday Night Football crew pumping “Roundball Rock” in the background last year. The Kansas City Chiefs, however, managed to one-up Atlanta by having a defender try to block the shot. This celebration was a missed jump shot away from being one of the funniest moments of the year.
4) Week 7: Seahawks ‘Drumline’ celebration
Had the celebrations stopped after Week 7, this would be the clear No. 1. The “Drumline” fight is iconic and if you didn’t immediately go rewatch the film after the Seattle game, now is your chance to make amends.
3) Week 9: Seahawks group dance party
Drumline was great. The choreographed dance was even better. Whatever the Seahawks are doing in the team meetings to come up with these celebrations, it’s clearly working.
2) Week 12: Zeke Elliott makes a donation to Salvation Army
The Cowboys running back really trolled himself.
A year after the league fined Ezekiel Elliott for jumping into the over-sized Salvation Army bucket. Zeke returned to the scene of the crime and dropped $21 into the bucket. Of course, the NFL still fined Elliott about $13,000 for unsportsmanlike conduct anyways. No good deed goes unpunished.
1) Week 9: Michael Thomas’ Joe Horn tribute
Was there ever any doubt?
The Saints wideout was fined $30,000 for his Joe Horn tribute but there’s no question it was one of the most entertaining moments all year. Not only did Thomas go retro and find a flip phone like Horn used — he bought it at a local liquor store. He also had to hope and pray that he scored and that the touchdown went to the end zone where he stashed the phone.
This was a perfect blend of preparation, skill, luck and acknowledging those who came before you. Nothing came close to topping it.
This year, that is.
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