The slam dunk is a powerplay on the basketball court, but NFL officials have chosen to outlaw the popular goal-post dunk celebration for the upcoming season.
Dean Blandino, the NFL's head of officiating, made the announcement Tuesday while speaking to Dan Patrick about rule changes discussed at the league's annual meetings this week. (Via Fox Sports)
"Dunking will come out. Using the ball as a prop, or any object as a prop, whether that's the goal post or the crossbar, that will come out and that will be a foul next season." (Via The Dan Patrick Show)
The goal-post dunk might be best known as former tight end Tony Gonzalez's move. A Wall Street Journal audit of touchdown celebrations found that dunks made up only 3 percent of scoring antics.
But many sports writers said Saints tight end Jimmy Graham might take partial blame for the ban after he went all Phi Slama Jama on a goal post last season and knocked it off balance. He later tweeted, "Oooops!" (Via Flickr / Mark Runyon | Pro Football Schedules, Twitter / @TheJimmyGraham)
Blandino told Patrick using the football as a prop was already against the rules, but the dunk and the famous Lambeau Leap were kept as exceptions. The new no-dunk ban is just an extension of the rules against excessive celebrations.
The announcement was met with some criticism from fun advocates like this writer from Sporting News who said the National Football League is more like the "No Fun League" with its approach to nixing celebrations.
So far, dunks are a no go — no matter how good they are — but sack dances, spiking the ball, throwing the ball, signing the ball, making a call and prolonged taunting on the field can all result in penalties for teams.
NFL media columnist Judy Battista said Tuesday many league executives see the extension of touchdown penalties as a way to clean up a league that has gotten out of control.
"Taunting penalties nearly quadrupled last year over the previous season. They've got to rein that in. They're very concerned about the appearance that player behavior on the field is out of control."
Other rule changes approved Tuesday include the use of a centralized replay system that will allow on-field officials to consult the NFL's Officiating Command Center in New York, and a ban on "roll-up" blocks to the side of an opposing player's legs, not just the back of their legs. (Via ESPN)