If you’re a sports fan, you’ve probably had a heated exchange of words once or twice. Players are no different. Adrenaline needs to find a way out during some point of the game, and taunting is one of those avenues. However, the NFL has taken unnecessary steps towards taking the fun out of football.
The NFL rulebook defines taunting as, “using baiting or taunting acts or words that may engender ill will between teams.” This isn’t to be confused with excessive celebrations, which are acts that are not directed towards another player. Taunting comes at a cost, resulting in a 15-yard penalty and an automatic first down (if assessed against the defense); The same penalty as roughing the passer. A penalty for player enthusiasm has the ability to change the pace of play and outcome of the game.
In the fourth-quarter, 15-yards could easily make or break a close game. Imagine this call being the reason your football team loses a matchup. Many unhappy opinions have flooded Twitter since the rule has come into play this season.
However, Bill Belichick seems to be one of the few to defend the implementation of the wildly unpopular rule change.
“In general, I don’t really think there’s a place for taunting in the game,” Belichick said. “I think we should go out there and compete and try to play good football and win the game on the field. I don’t think it’s about taunting and poor sportsmanship. That’s not really my idea of what good football is.”
These are grown men playing a grown man sport. If they can’t handle some trash talk, they’re in the wrong industry. If making a great play and flexing on the opposing team is wrong, I don’t want to be right. Taunting has always been part of sports. Don’t mess with the flow of the game.
Photo: (Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)
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