No Fun League: New "Taunting Rules" are Killing the Game

NFL Sep 20, 2021

Everyone agrees: Let the players play!

From Yahoo Sports:

Going into this season, we knew the NFL's new point of emphasis on calling taunting penalties would be controversial.

We knew the league was in danger of regaining the "No Fun League" mantle it had made some progress in moving away from in recent years. We just didn't think it would be this bad.

After an ominous preaseason and questionable start in Week 1, the NFL saw a string of taunting penalties in Week 2 that left fans angry and wondering who on earth asked for players to be severely punished for even mild celebrations when directed at their opponent (the answer is NFL owners mad about Tyreek Hill).

On Sunday, we watched a player penalized for spinning a football. And flashing the incomplete sign. And clapping. Los Angeles Chargers tight end Jared Cook got called for one over a run-of-the-mill touchdown celebration, but had that called back due to an illegal shift penalty.

The worst moment, though, came during the game between the Tennessee Titans and Seattle Seahawks. With the Titans down 30-23 and driving to tie the game, Ryan Tannehill went for a deep pass to A.J. Brown that landed incomplete. Seahawks cornerback D.J. Reed, who was covering Brown, got up, flexed while looking at Brown and walked away (video above). Then he received a 15-yard penalty for taunting, moving the Titans into Seahawks territory.

Fortunately for Reed and the Seahawks, they still held the Titans scoreless on that drive, but not the next one. The Titans would eventually win a wild game 33-30 in overtime. The episode was more a warning, that in a major game, at a major moment, a player will be penalized for a celebration that wouldn't have batted an eye last season.

The reception for the crackdown on taunting has been almost universally negative in the diverse world of NFL Twitter. Current NFL players hate it. Former NFL players hate it. Current NBA players hate it. Reporters hate it. TV personalities hate it. Anonymous accounts hate it.

It's not often you see all of them this lined up on an issue: