The NFL has announced that it is “putting the fun back in football” by relaxing the rules governing touchdown celebrations, to allow players “more room to have fun after they make big plays”. The letter to fans from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell promised (with the help of some illustrative GIFs) the return of snow angels, group demonstrations, use of the ball as a prop, and other “spontaneous displays of emotion”.
Article 1, Section 3, Rule 12 (Player Conduct) of the NFL Rulebook, which governs “unsportsmanlike conduct”, includes the following restrictions:
“There shall be no unsportsmanlike conduct. This applies to any act which is contrary to the generally understood principles of sportsmanship. Such acts specifically include, among others:
- Prolonged or excessive celebrations or demonstrations by an individual player. Players are prohibited from engaging in any celebrations or demonstrations while on the ground. A celebration or demonstration shall be deemed excessive or prolonged if a player continues to celebrate or demonstrate after a warning from an official.
- Two or more players engaging in prolonged, excessive, premeditated, or choreographed celebrations or demonstrations.
- Possession or use of foreign or extraneous object(s) that are not part of the uniform during the game on the field or the sideline, or using the ball as a prop…”
Various penalties apply on a breach of these rules, including the loss of 15 yards from the succeeding spot (or whatever spot the Referee deems equitable) and players may also be individually fined.