Sometimes, the NFL doesn’t do itself any favors.
Already with a reputation of being a bit of a fun sponge, the NFL decided to outdo itself on Tuesday, announcing that referees will take a harsher approach on taunting infractions in 2021.
A league statement said:
The NFLPA, coaches, and competition committee have all made a strong statement regarding respect among everyone on the field. We saw an increase in actions that are clearly not within the spirit and intent of this rule and not representative to the respect of opponents and others on the field. Game officials have been instructed to strictly enforce the taunting rules and players and coaches are reminded that two taunting penalties committed by an individual player will result in automatic disqualification. In addition, the taunting player may be fined and or suspended depending on the severity of the action.
While this won’t affect many players, it will no doubt make a difference to the Kansas City Chiefs’ star receiver Tyreek Hill — a player whose deuces have almost routinely appeared during big-play touchdowns.
Taunting penalties will be enforced on the kickoff, almost ruling out the possibility of a deliberate kick for a touchback — and seeing that NFL coaches care about field position, there is no reason to think that they won’t be asking their players to respect the new rules.
So for now, players like Hill will have to come up with new ways to celebrate touchdowns — in the most respectful way possible.