The Court Report: National Football League or No Fun League?

Recently, the National Football League (NFL) has become increasingly more strict than in past years about several trifling matters. With the NFL season coming to an end, it is time to reflect on some of this season’s most controversial topics: the celebration fines, the rigid uniform policy and the excessive amount of penalties per game.

The NFL unsportsmanlike conduct policy states that celebrations may not be prolonged or excessive, have two or more players engaged in a choreographed dance or demonstration, include the removal of one’s helmet in the field of play or the end zone and so on. More and more players have gotten fines for their celebrations.

The fines on celebrations have become trivial and quite honestly, very unnecessary. Of course the meaning behind the new policies about celebrations is to ensure player and referee safety; However, when a player like Trai Turner was fined $9,115, according to Newsweek, for simply hopping up and down when his fellow teammate scored the first touchdown of the season, the celebration policies clearly seems be too harsh. The NFL claimed that Turner was taunting the opposing team, but Turner claims that he did not say anything to the opposing team and was just walking over to his own teammates.

Another instance of a needless fine was with Terrelle Pryor. Pryor pretended to do the classic chalk toss after he scored a touchdown for his fellow Cleveland Browns. Many professional athletes perform the chalk toss during games, like LeBron James, but in the NFL, doing this results in a hefty fine. Pryor was also fined $9,115 for his chalk toss.

Vernon Davis from the Washington Redskins shoots the football through the goal post.

Washington Redskin player Vernon Davis was also fined for a celebration after a touchdown. Davis shot the football through the goal post after a his team scored, leading to a $12,154 fine for Davis. The NFL does state that the use of other props, such as the goal post, is not allowed, but throwing the ball through the post as a celebration should be reconsidered to be allowed as it does not hurt anyone.

Another pressing topic of the recent NFL season was the very strict uniform code. The uniform code states that all shoes must be a solid color, according to the 2016 NFL rulebook.

When DeAndre Hopkins wore the Yeezy Boost 350 cleats designed by Kanye West to a game, he was fined $6,000. The cleats that Hopkins wore were marbled, so granted, they were not a solid color, therefore the cleats should not have been worn. Also, the point of the strict uniform code is to make the referee’s job easier by not being able to mix up the colors of the player’s uniform,yet to play football, cleats are a necessity, especially in a professional football league.

Houston Texans player, DeAndre Hopkins,wears the Yeezy Boost 350’s.

The fine that was given to Hopkins was also given the same weekend that the NFL decided to not fine six players, including Odell Beckham, for wearing tribute cleats for 9/11. These cleats were meant to pay tribute to the lost lives of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. These cleats also went against the NFL rulebook, completely. Though, it was a special holiday and occasion, many rules were broken and did not result in any fines for those who wore the shoes.

More recently, the NFL has allowed other types of Yeezy cleats. These Yeezys are solid colors, either white or black, so they do not contradict any rules in the NFL rulebook. The Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller wore a pair of these new cleats on this past Christmas and was not fined a single dollar for wearing them.

In addition to the strict celebration policy and the harsh uniform policy, there have also been an increasing amount of penalties called per game by the officials.

According to SportingCharts, on average the NFL has about 13.46 penalties per game. This average has significantly increased from past years when it was low at about 10 per game. The increase of penalties is due to new policies in the NFL causing the officials to call more and more penalties.

Again, the purpose of some penalties is to ensure player safety, which is very important in such a high contact sport. Be that as it may, at some point the football players just need to play without the restriction of penalties. Also the influx of penalties per game takes up a lot of time and can cause players and coaches to become more agitated which could therefore cause them to get more penalties. This puts more players at risk of potential injury, as well.

This season for the NFL has had a lot of tense moments with a lot of fines. The rules for the NFL appear to become stricter each season played. This can lead to the question: Is it really the National Football League or is it the No Fun League?