Starkey: The war on sports celebrations
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Clearly, I'm in the minority here. I loved Emmanuel Sanders' midair somersault, even if his coach and everyone else on the planet hated it.
I like to be entertained. I didn't care about the injury risk, minimal as it was, because I'm not a coach, teammate or fan. I don't think every touchdown needs to end with the player handing the ball to an official. I appreciate spontaneous and flamboyant acts of exuberance.
Imagine a world that never had Robbie Brown's windmill, T.O.'s pompoms or Billy “White Shoes” Johnson.
They say to act like you've been there. What if you haven't? Sanders had gone 12 games without crossing the goal line. It was cathartic. And it led to this fun little exchange at Mike Tomlin's news conference Tuesday, when I asked if it's true we won't see any more of these flying somersaults.
“That would be very correct,” Tomlin said.
Me: “And that comes down from you?”
Me: “Why don't you like them?”
Tomlin: “Because it's a potential for injury. It's silly.”
I get that. Really I do. Every coach I've ever met is highly paranoid (although I'm not sure why this edict wasn't delivered when Le'Veon Bell did the exact same thing a week earlier, or when Mike Wallace did it years ago). What's everyone else's problem?
What's with the war on sports celebrations?
You can't even smile in college football anymore. I've spoken to people who don't the like the Pirates' outfield jump after victories, for goodness sake.
I'm with noted New York Jets fan (and Penguins defenseman) Rob Scuderi, who took the Sanders flip in stride. Scuderi's been on the wrong side of far more outrageous acts, like Nail Yakupov's slide of insanity last season in Edmonton.
“I didn't think (the Sanders flip) was all that big a deal,” Scuderi said. “Most of the stuff guys do is really not that big a deal. They're just having fun. They're in the moment. Are there guys who take it too far? Probably. But I think they're few and far between.”
Alex Ovechkin throwing his stick on the ice and pretending it's too hot to pick up probably falls into that category, although I enjoyed that. The Yakupov slide was cool, too. He'd just scored his first NHL goal and tied a game against the Kings with 4.7 seconds left in regulation. You'd be excited too.
“I think he went end to end on us in the celebration,” Scuderi said. “It was probably a bit much, but I didn't lose any sleep over it.”
Me neither. On the other hand — call me hypocritical — I'm not wild about a $42 million receiver celebrating every first-down catch as if he just won Powerball.
I don't claim consistency or logic in judging sports celebrations. It's instinctive. Either I like it or I don't. My rating system is riddled with holes at least as big as the ones Stevie Johnson pretended to shoot into his leg while mocking Plaxico Burress in a memorable TD recital a few years ago.
It's easier to explain what I don't like, rather than what I do:
• The Premature Celebration: This could be dropping the ball before you cross the goal line (hello, Danny Trevathan), flipping your bat to admire a triple (paging Yasiel Puig) or dumping Gatorade over your coach just before the other team scores the winning touchdown (Kentucky football, 2006).
• The Illegal Celebration: Santonio Holmes is remembered as the hero of Super Bowl XLIII. He could easily be remembered as the goat. Holmes enacted one of the most idiotic TD celebrations of all-time. The NFL later would fine him $10,000. Luckily, no official saw him use the football as a prop in a LeBron James powder-on-the-hands imitation, or the Steelers would have been forced to kick off from their 15 — and might have one less trophy in their case.
• The Profane Celebration: Think Darrell Strong giving the USF crowd a one-fingered salute in 2006? Or Andrew Ference doing the same in Montreal five years later.
• Somebody's Hurt: Arron Asham did CM Punk's “Go to Sleep” act after knocking out Jay Beagle. Gus Frerotte rammed his head into a concrete block. Donald Brashear scored a goal and immediately punched Brendan Witt in the face. That type of thing.
• You Didn't Really Do Anything: Antonio Brown loving him some first downs. Sean Avery doing push-ups after a lucky goal.
Other than that, I'm on board with pretty much anything, from the Winnipeg Blue Bombers playing duck-duck goose in the end zone (it happened) to Randy Moss's fake moon to Evgeni Malkin's glass-leap to the Jagr salute to Mike Rupp's-mock-the-Jagr-salute to the Dodgers jumping into the Arizona Diamondbacks swimming pool.
And, yes, even the Sanders Somersault.
Joe Starkey co-hosts a show 2 to 6 p.m. weekdays on 93.7 FM. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Starkey: Century mark beckons for Ben
- Flyers continue mastery of Penguins at Consol
- Highmark seeks double-digit increase for more benefits, heavy use
- Wanted sex offender caught hiding in homemade fort in Washington County
- Officials identify witness to Port Authority bus crash after releasing photo
- Steelers’ defense on pace for fewest sacks in 16-game season
- Canadians more fearful, aware after ‘very rare’ attack in Ottawa
- Corbett rips Wolf tax proposals during Hempfield campaign stop
- Motorist in Downtown mishap, passenger arrested on drug charges
- WPIAL, coaches are still looking to schedule Week 9 rivalry games
- Cops: Washington County surplus store sold stolen items