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Friday, September 30, 2022

Column: Roger Goodell finally did something right for once

<p>NFL commissioner Roger Goodell speaks to the media after an NFL owners meeting, Tuesday, May 23, 2017, in Chicago.</p>

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell speaks to the media after an NFL owners meeting, Tuesday, May 23, 2017, in Chicago.

Roger Goodell has screwed up a lot of things during his tenure as commissioner of the National Football League.

He pathetically suspended Ray Rice a meager two games after the former running back punched his then-fiancé Janay Palmer in the face.

He denied for years that playing football can lead to C.T.E., a degenerative disease in the brain that can cause chronic headaches, dementia and suicidality.

And let’s not forget the mess that was deflategate, a two-year long scandal involving the air pressure of Patriots’ footballs that was so laughable and childish, New England fans tried to sue the NFL.

Literally.

That’s not a joke to add a light, comedic touch to this column. Patriot fans actually tried to sue Goodell and the NFL.

But that’s neither here nor there because, for once, the commissioner of the most valuable sports league in the world did something right. He decided that players can once again show human emotion and celebrate after scoring a touchdown.

In years past, Goodell and the league have tried cracking down on such activities, penalizing players if they use the ball as a prop, dance as a group or perform other “excessive” displays such as making a snow angel in the end zone.

But, much to the pleasure of every football fan on the planet, all of that is now fair game.

At the NFL owners meeting on Tuesday, Goodell informed teams that the league will relax its stance on touchdown celebrations after years of complaints from players, coaches and fans.

Referees will still flag players for throat slashes and mimicking the use of a weapon, as well as sexually suggestive demonstrations, but other than that, we no longer have to worry about 15-yard penalties for harmless displays of excitement.

It’s about damn time Roger Goodell.

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Like seriously, why was any of that stuff ever not allowed? No wonder the NFL is referred to by many as the No Fun League.

I can understand Goodell wanting to establish a set of ground rules to maintain respect and honor to the game of football, but touchdown celebrations have become a mainstay on Sunday afternoons.

There is nothing more entertaining than watching Ezekiel Elliott leap into a Salvation Army donation kettle after scoring a two-yard touchdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

It’s about time he wasn't penalized for doing so.

Dylan Dixon is sports editor of the Alligator. His column will appear frequently on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Contact him at ddixon@alligator.org and follow him on Twitter @dylanrdixon.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell speaks to the media after an NFL owners meeting, Tuesday, May 23, 2017, in Chicago.

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