The unsportsmanlike conduct penalty Washington Redskins tight end Vernon Davis drew after a TD for shooting the football at the goalpost like a basketball at a rim is precisely why people joke that “NFL” stands for “No Fun League.”
Turned out to be a truly consequential flag, too: The 15 yards were assessed on the kickoff, so the ball was booted from Washington’s 20 instead of the 35, and the opponent turned that into a TD return.
“You’re not taunting. I don’t think that’s taunting,” Davis said after Washington beat the fading Philadelphia Eagles 27-20 Sunday for its fourth consecutive victory. “You’re just celebrating, right?”
Would seem so.
In the same category: New York Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr. drew a 15-yarder for unsportsmanlike conduct when he yanked off his helmet after scoring on a 66-yard catch-and-run to beat the Baltimore Ravens 27-23.
NFL Senior VP of Officiating Dean Blandino posted a video on Twitter to cite the rules that led to the penalties, with a specificity that sounded sort of silly. What he didn’t do: Explain why the rules make sense.
On the Davis flag, Blandino said: “You can’t dunk the ball over the goalpost, shoot the ball, finger roll. All of that is illegal.”
On the Beckham flag, he said: “You cannot take your helmet off as part of a celebration, a demonstration or as part of a confrontation with an opponent or a game official.”
Redskins cornerback Josh Norman — fined $9,115 this month by the NFL for a bow-and-arrow pantomime after an interception — called the flag on his teammate Davis “crazy” and “ridiculous.”
“I guess shooting hoops is frowned upon, too. If I slap somebody’s hand on a good play, maybe they’re going to call us for that — who knows?” Norman said. “When is enough, enough? … I mean, shoot, that’s what we are: We are entertainers.”
Given the league’s predilection for removing any unchoreographed moments, Detroit Lions receiver Golden Tate’s pockets might be a little lighter this week. After scoring during a 31-28 victory over the Los Angeles Rams, he grabbed a cheerleader’s pair of blue pompoms and joined in the dancing.
“I was going back to the sideline and I just saw these new cheerleaders and I figured, ‘Hey, why not party with them for a little bit?’ … Just having fun,” Tate said. “Just having a lot of fun.”
Not sure that’s allowed.
In case you missed it, here are the other top topics after the NFL season’s sixth Sunday:
P.I. OR NOT P.I.?: Julio Jones, coach Dan Quinn and the rest of the Falcons appeared to have a legitimate gripe after their 26-24 loss to the Seahawks. On fourth down with 90 seconds left, Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman clearly grabbed Jones’ right arm on a deep pass, leading to an incompletion. Quinn protested vigorously on the sideline, yelling and pulling off his hat, to no avail. Jones called it “just a missed call.” Blandino’s predecessor as head of NFL officiating, Mike Pereira, tweeted: “No question that was PI. They’re all tough, but you have to make that call.”
THE DAK DECISION: At some point, the Dallas Cowboys are going to have to decide whether to restore Tony Romo to his starting quarterback spot or let rookie Dak Prescott keep the job. Prescott is making the choice harder, week by week. His latest trick: Leading Dallas to a 30-16 victory at Aaron Rodgers’ Green Bay Packers, making it five wins in a row for the Cowboys.
BIG BEN: As it is, Pittsburgh’s 30-15 loss to Miami took some of the luster off next week’s top-of-the-AFC matchup between the Steelers (4-2) and Tom Brady’s New England Patriots (5-1). Worse, though, was that Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger hurt his left knee and reportedly needs surgery.
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