Your favorite NFL player has just punched their way past the pylons and into the end zone. Touchdown. Now comes one of the most entertaining moments of the game: what will the player do? Are they going to dance? Maybe mime some funny looking activity like giving birth? Or look for help from the fans or maybe a teammate? Who knows. But we all care. Certain athletes have signature moves like Cam Newton dabbin, Victor Cruz doing the Salsa or Newton impersonating Superman with his trademark shirt-rip. Wow, Cam has two signature moves. That’s great. Well, let’s really get into it. Here is my college thesis on NFL touchdown celebrations.
The No Fun League has really cracked down on in-game celebrations of all kinds. Which is a mistake, but whatever. I won’t let that bum me out. Look, I’m doing my happy dance. But for background, the league will currently penalize a player for “excessive celebration” which the NFL rulebook defines as:
“(d) Individual players involved in prolonged or excessive celebrations. Players are prohibited from engaging in any celebrations while on the ground. A celebration shall be deemed excessive or prolonged if a player continues to celebrate after a warning from an official.
(e) Two-or-more players engage in prolonged, excessive, premeditated, or choreographed celebrations.
(f) 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.“
Why so serious? Anyway, let’s enjoy some of football’s best movers and shakers before they ban dancing and turn football into the town from Footloose.
The Ickey Shuffle
Ickey Woods’ little jig isn’t too complicated, but it’s fun to do and is super infectious. Just like a catchy pop song.
Big Joe Fauria’s Bye Bye Bye
This guy didn’t last too long in the league but his moves will last in my memory. Easily the best game of Fauria’s career, he recorded 3 receptions for 34 yards and 3 touchdowns. Plus he did a different celebrations each time. That’s not easy because maybe he had one move ready to go but there is no way he planned on three. His ode to NSYNC is still the best.
Jamal Anderson’s Dirty Bird
This is an all-time classic. If you don’t like this then I don’t know what to say to you. You probably hate pizza too.
Joe Horn’s cell phone stunt
What is this guy? A prop-comic? Believe it or not, this was groundbreaking in terms of end zone creativity. He is the Carrot Top of touchdown celebrations. Let’s get Joe on the horn and thank him for his contribution to the world of wacky stunts.
Now we are getting to the real showboat champs. Get your popcorn ready because TO knew exactly what to do with his post-touchdown time, and he made for some of the most enjoyable moments to date. The best was back when Owens was a San Fransisco 49er and he ran to the center star on the 50 yard line (twice) after scores at Cowboy Stadium. There is a great recap of the event HERE. Terrell was bold and inventive with it and I love that.
All hail the king. My personal favorite. At one point while in college, I started writing down celebration ideas with the thought of contacting Mr. Ochocinco so I could pitch him my stuff. I got as far as reaching out to his agent. Needless to say we never worked together. He did fine without me. Remember his Riverdance? Or when he operated one of the broadcast cameras? That’s just one of many classics. Enjoy this weird video someone made highlighting his best.
The above guys can really cut a rug. No wonder NFL players do so well on Dancing with the Stars. Also, I didn’t mention things like spikes or dunks of the ball. Those are too simple so I excluded them from this piece. Sorry Gronk, practice your steps and maybe you can make it next time. And don’t even say Lambeau Leap to me. Lastly, there are some great touchdown dances in Any Given Sunday and BASEketball, if you haven’t seen them then do it. Did I miss your favorite? Leave it on my answering machine below.
Bust a move.