These Banned Touchdown Celebrations Will Bring Out The Penalty Flag

Touchdown celebrations might be one of the most fun things to witness when watching a National Football League game, but they are not without controversy. New York Giants wide receiver Homer Jones is recognized for the first touchdown celebration when he spiked the ball after scoring a touchdown in 1965 (via Bleacher Report). Since then, players have become more inventive when it comes to celebrations, prompting the NFL to crack down on more elaborate merrymaking. Sometime around 1984, the league banned "excessive celebration," eliminating almost all forms of it but spiking the ball, according to the Baltimore Sun.  

But that's no fun, and the NFL eventually earned the moniker "No Fun League" because of their strict, vague, and overbearing guidelines, per SB Nation. Over the years, the league has made a few changes, giving players a little more freedom. That said, there are still rules. When it comes to celebrating touchdowns, the league explains in its rulebook that "prolonged or excessive celebrations or demonstrations by an individual player or multiple players" are considered to be unsportsmanlike conduct and will bring out a penalty flag.

Pointing, shooting, and using foreign objects

Taunting will almost always bring out a penalty flag, and it costs a team 15-yard loss. The NFL defines taunting as "any flagrant acts or remarks that deride, mock, bait, or embarrass an opponent," and two taunting penalties will result in player disqualification. Taunting is a vague term, but it's safe to say that it includes any violent imagery, such as appearing to shoot a gun or a bow and arrow, per ESPN. Touchdown celebrations directed at an opponent after scoring a touchdown are also considered taunting, and the simple act of pointing a finger at an opponent can result in a flag, according to CBS Sports

Players have shown how resourceful they can be when it comes to touchdown celebrations. Some of the more memorable celebrations are clearly premeditated because they include items not related to football. And, of course, such actions prompted more rules from the NFL. For example, bringing such items such as Sharpie markers, cell phones, and other foreign objects will most likely bring out a flag and can even earn a hefty fine (via Sports Illustrated).

Dancing and other banned behavior

Players have used many forms of dancing in the end zone. From Billy Johnson's "funky chicken" to Ickey Woods' Ickey Shuffle to Jaylen Waddle's penguin waddle, players have delighted fans with enthusiastic moves. That said, some of these moves — especially the ones involving the hips — can be problematic. SB Nation reports that at one point, choreographed dances, regardless of how brief they were, would bring out a penalty marker — this was changed just a year later, however, and group dancing is again A-OK (via NFL). In addition, any moves construed as sexual in nature, such as thrusting the hips or twerking, are also going to get flagged.

Other actions that can result in a penalty flag after a touchdown include hugging officials, using the ball as a prop, and players removing their helmets in the end zone. Players should also be mindful of where the ball falls when they let it go after scoring a touchdown because if an official sees it hit an opponent, they may throw a flag, per SB Nation.