Chad Johnson, my favorite non-Torry Holt and/or non-Chicago Bear receiver and man who's faster than a horse, has decided that he's done with the end zone celebrations until the Bengals stop sucking. Good for him. As it stands, I hate precalculated end zone celebrations unless they're the currently illegal ones that happen between teammates or entire teams. I concede that I'll never be rid of them(at least props were banned), but I do think that Johnson's on the right track here. There's a time and a place, and I think that some players need to understand that.
So here are some rules that I think should be adopted.
1. The Chad Johnson Rule - If you're team is at less than .500 after the first 4 weeks of play you do not celebrate any scores. There's nothing sadder than seeing a member of a 2-7 football team jubilantly celebrate the touchdown that brings the score to 7-7 in the first quarter knowing that this team will still probably lose the game on their way to a 3-13 record and a number one draft pick. It just looks like he's saying "Yay! I did something right!"
-The Spoiler Exception - If you're playing for a futile team that is by some miracle beating one of a handful of teams in the league that no one shuts up about(this season we're looking at New England, Dallas, and Indianapolis), you may celebrate each and every touchdown in any fashion you see fit until you're losing by two scores or more(see rule #2)
-The Rivalry Exception - Some teams, it feels good to beat no matter how poorly your season is going. If a Redskins team that's 3-9 goes up on a Dallas team that's 10-2, I won't at all begrudge some celebrating from those 'Skins.
2. The We're Beating the Spread Rule - If your team is still down by more than one possession after your score, you do not dance/taunt/celebrate in any fashion. Give the ball to the ref, you've still got plenty of score to make up.
-The Roy Williams Addendum - If celebrating a touchdown when you're still down by more than 8 points afterward is wrong, celebrating a first down when you're down by a million points just proves once again that everyone named Roy Williams is a total d-bag.
3. The Bill Grammatica Rule - Never celebrate a field goal. You had to settle for 3.
The Adam Vinatieri Exception - If it's a game-winner as the clock expires, go nuts.
4. The T.O. Rule - Lots of guys would get called on this. Stop pre-planning the end zone dances. I know that there are guys in the NFL who lie awake at night thinking of what might get them some extra time on a highlight reel. Steve Smith, Chad Johnson, and too many others have laid down some truly asinine dances this way and my fear is still that they'll be hiring choreographers sooner rather than later.
The Ickey Shuffle Exception - If you do a dance that strikes a chord with the fans of the team you play for, you may repeat that dance until the local AM sports radio callers in that town begin to turn on the dance en masse.
The Changing a Football's Diaper is the Dumbest Thing I've Ever Seen Addendum - If you use something from the game as a prop beyond spiking the football(which, by the way, I'm more than okay with), your team is penalized 30 points and the ball. Honestly. Using your towel to pretend to be a waiter? I spent some time in the food service industry, and there's nothing celebratory about standing by a table while someone berates you for bringing them exactly what they ordered.
The Joe Horn Hasn't Been Talked About Again Since That Day Addendum - If you bring an external prop, your team is penalized their next three games. And the ball.
The Teams Win Championships Exception - Remember the Mile High Salute from Denver? Remember the Bob and Weave from St. Louis? Remember the grenade thing the Ravens used to do? Team celebrations. Those are awesome and I think they need to be allowed back into the game. I'd much prefer that to some grand-standing idiot with a prop hidden in his sock.
5. The New York Football Giants are Lame but Not as Much as the New York Basketball Knicks Rule, or the Isaiah Thomas Sucks at Life Rule - Never celebrate a football play by imitating a sport that the team in the city you represent has been horrible at for years.
I should be the NFL's commissioner. You can guarantee I wouldn't be thinking about a Super Bowl in London.