I realize this is a little late to the party, but Iâ€™ll give the dead horse another boot.
Before the beginning of the college football bowl season, I was laughing about the ridiculousness of the name of the New Era Pinstripe Bowl, the perfect ammunition for the too-many-bowls lamenter.
After the Pinstripe Bowl, Iâ€™m laughing at the irony of the name.
Watch the youtube video, and youâ€™ll know why the pinstripes botched the Pinstripe Bowl and continued the trend of outrageous excessive celebration calls at the NCAA and NFL levels.
Iâ€™ll keep the play-by-play to the bare bones. Kansas State wide receiver Adrian Hilburn caught a 30-yard touchdown pass with 1:13 left in the fourth quarter to cut Syracuseâ€™s lead to 36-34.
Â As Hilburn broke free into the end zone, he saluted the Yankee Stadium crowd in New York with whatâ€™s been dubbed a bronx salute. If you saw Terrell Davis and the Denver Broncos in the 1990s, itâ€™s the same thing.
Â Hilburn was flagged for â€˜excessive celebrationâ€™.
Â Hilburn didnâ€™t get in the face of his opponent, he didnâ€™t pound his chest or dunk the ball on the goalpost. He saluted the crowd. Briefly, at that.
Â As a result, K-State had to attempt the potential game-tying 2-point conversion from 18 yards out after the 15-yard enforcement. Predictably, KSU QB Carson Coffmanâ€™s pass fell incomplete.
Â If the initial call on the field wasnâ€™t poorly handled enough, the NCAA came out with the icing for the cake in the days following. Dave Parry, NCAAâ€™s national coordinator of officials, told media that the call was correct, citing that a penalty is required when one “brings attention to yourself.”
Â Hmm. You know what other kind of celebration “brings attention to yourself”? Oh, just them all. The fist pump. The first down signal. The safety celebration every defensive player seemingly loves to give. If anyone still raises the roof, I suppose that brings attention to yourself, too. The Daunte Culpepper getting your roll on celebration or the Tecmo Super Bowl run-into-an-offensive-lineman-who-lifts-you-up celebration? Yep, attention-seekers.
Â This isnâ€™t the only time the absurdity of a football leagueâ€™s “excessive celebration” penalty has come into the national spotlight this season.
Â In the NFL in October, Dallas Cowboys offensive lineman Marc Colombo was penalized 15 yards after teammate Jason Witten scored a touchdown and allowed Colombo to spike the ball in the end zone. After the spike, Witten and Colombo chest-bumped. Colombo, the light-footed athlete that he is, accidentally did a backwards somersault. He received an excessive celebration penalty, because the NFL rulebook states that players canâ€™t go to the ground to celebrate a play.
Â Itâ€™s why Minnesota Vikings defensive lineman Jared Allen was told earlier this year that he canâ€™t go to one knee to do his signature calf-roping celebration. He still does the celebration, just gets in a crouch. Whew, thank goodness the NFL nipped that in the bud, right?
Â How about some common sense.
Â Hereâ€™s the rule the NCAA pointed to after the K-State fiasco.
Â Make sure you push up your spectacles before reading this one. Rule 9-2-1d: “Any delayed, excessive, prolonged or choreographed action by which a player attempts to focus attention on himself or themselves.”
Â Hilburnâ€™s salute wasnâ€™t delayed, excessive, prolonged or choreographed. The kid was being a kid. I donâ€™t want to watch football robots.
Â Some people like to quote Vince Lombardi who said “Next time you make it in the end zone, act like youâ€™ve been there before.”
Â Well, you know what? Hilburn had never been there before. The senior scored his second career touchdown in his first-ever bowl game.
Â I can understand those who donâ€™t want to see KeyShawn Johnson rip off his helmet and whip it out the back of the end zone. I donâ€™t really need to see Joe Horn stash a cell phone in the goalpost padding or watch Terrell Owens pull a sharpie from his sock. Iâ€™ll even go as far as to say, although funny, maybe John Randle shouldnâ€™t get on all fours after a sack and mimic a dog peeing on a fire hydrant (pains me to say).
Â But as more of these not-so-excessive excessive celebration penalties get called, Iâ€™m starting to say we go back to days of the old Miami Hurricanes.
Â ”If you donâ€™t like us dancing, donâ€™t let us get in the end zone.”