Now that it has determined that being repeatedly hit in the head by 300-pound football players is not good for the human cranium, or its contents, the National Football League is turning its attentions to another issue:
The league recently announced it has instructed its officials to make it “a point of emphasis” to enforce rules against demonstrations including, but not limited to: imitating the Incredible Hulk, pretending to shoot an arrow, stomping on the home team’s midfield logo, twerking or thrusting one’s pelvis in the direction of the goal post. The crackdown, a league official explained, is because stuff like that sets a bad example for kids.
I think we all can agree we don’t want Pee Wee football players thrusting their little pelvises at anything. But I’d be satisfied if the officials would merely enforce the rule against dancing.
Back in the days when Icky Woods was shuffling and Chad Johnson was river dancing, it was sort of cute. But now any player who reaches the end zone apparently is overcome by the need to dance and it’s getting old.
No other pro athletes dance. Baseball players simply prance around the bases after home runs. Following a monster dunk, basketball players pound their chests, open their mouths like hippos and roar like lions; they’re regular one-man zoos. Soccer players run around in circles after a goal. Tennis players fall flat on their backs after match point and act as if winning was the most shocking thing that ever happened to them. Only football players dance.
No one wants to stifle genuine enthusiasm — jumping up and down, back-slapping, knuckle-knocking, helmet-pounding, pointing to the heavens and all that. But there’s nothing genuine about end zone dancing. They’re just “look at me, I’m so wonderful” displays that ignore the 10 teammates without whom the dancer would be flat on his behind somewhere back up the field.
What’s more, most of them aren’t exactly Fred Astaire. Not that I fault the players for that. With all the team doctors, team managers and team statisticians clogging the sidelines, there’s probably no room for a team choreographer. Besides, Fred Astaire probably couldn’t run a post pattern.
Most of the blame for all those dancers probably belongs with the network cameras aimed at them, the same cameras that piously avoid showing some boozed-up fan running out on the field because “we don’t want to encourage that stuff.” Personally I’d rather see a guy getting clocked by a 250-pound linebacker than watch one more end zone samba.
If I want to see sambas, I’ll watch “Dancing with the Stars.”