FOXBORO, Mass. — Earlier this week, New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick scoffed at the idea of his team potentially embracing the NFL’s new relaxed rules regarding touchdown celebrations.
On Sunday, they did just that.
The typically all-business Patriots broke out creative group celebrations after two of their five touchdowns in a 35-17 win over the Miami Dolphins, straying from their usual M.O. of keeping things simple after scores.
After Rob Gronkowski caught the first of his two touchdown passes from quarterback Tom Brady, the tight end delayed his signature Gronk spike until wide receiver Danny Amendola could join him in the end zone. Amendola then pantomimed clearing off a spot on the turf, and Gronkowski fired the ball into it.
Gronkowski also was involved in the Patriots’ other group celebration. After Brandin Cooks scored a fourth-quarter touchdown on a shovel pass from Brady, the wide receiver jumped on Gronkowski’s back and rode big No. 87 like a cowboy over to the sideline.
Why did the Patriots suddenly adopt a more fun-loving approach to celebrating scores? And who was the mastermind behind the ones they pulled out Sunday?
The players aren’t telling.
Gronkowski and Cooks both said their celebration was a spur-of-the-moment outburst, not a choreographed act.
“That was not planned or anything,” Gronkowski said.
He then paused before adding: “We got yelled at. We’re not allowed to talk about celebrations. It’s what we got told. But I kind of want to talk about it. But I kind of don’t, because I’ll get in trouble. So I don’t know what to do.
“So it just happened on the spot. It wasn’t planned. We’ll just keep it there.”
Cooks offered a similar response, without the giggling.
“Just in the moment,” the wideout said. “… We don’t plan to plan anything like that. We’re just playing football, and in the moment, you’re just excited.”
Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images
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