Seahawks wide receiver Golden Tate was hit with a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty during an 80-yard touchdown catch on Monday night after waving at Rams safety Rodney McLeod for the last 25 yards of his score. The penalty was assessed on the ensuing kickoff, but next season it could mean bringing the touchdown back.
NFL head of officiating Dean Blandino said that he thinks the competition committee will explore changing the NFL’s taunting rules this offseason, explaining that they may want to align them more closely with the NCAA’s policy.
If a player if flagged for a taunting penalty on a touchdown in college, the touchdown is called back and the 15-yard run off is assessed from the point which the flag was thrown. But let’s allow Blandino to explain further.
“A lot of people felt that the touchdown shouldn’t have counted [but] a taunting foul is always treated as a dead-ball foul, meaning whatever happened during the play counts, and the foul is enforced on the next play, which would be the kickoff,” Blandino said on NFL Network on Wednesday. “In college, this action would take back the touchdown. Tate started taunting at the 25-yard line. The college rule, that’s enforced at the spot of the foul, so they’d go from a touchdown to first-and-10 at the 40, which would be a gigantic penalty. The NFL rule, it’s a dead-ball foul, it’s enforced on the kickoff. But I’m sure that’s something that the Competition Committee will look at in the offseason.”
The NFL is clearly trying to take a firm stance on the taunting issue, but their approach seems to be a bit drastic. If they start calling back touchdowns on taunting penalties, then it could open up a door for eliminating celebrations from the game altogether. Then again, they aren’t known as the “No Fun League” for nothing.