After watching the NFL yesterday and the strutting and preening every player seems to do after making a first down, much less a touchdown, the touchdown celebration rule in the NCAA looks even more ridiculous. Holding pros to a lower standard than unpaid (yeah, I know) college kids is absurd.
While it is hard to say the application such a penalty “cost” Georgia the game against LSU (how about trying a little tacking on that last possession ,Dawgs?), in this case Georgia didn’t even seem to violate the rule in question.
So why am I smiling?
Because apparently even our Georgia rivals are thinking what I am thinking.
From “Get the Picture” –
“…it was a remarkably stupid call, egregious enough that it’s worth calling into question whether in fact the SEC officiating office really does have something against Mark Richt because of the Celebration in 2007. “
Which leads one to re-examine the decision by Georgia coaches to pre-plan that madcap and overly exuberant touchdown celebration of nearly two years ago, and ask oneself – “Was it really the move of genius Georgia fans thought it at the time?”
Though my feelings about “The Celebration” have cooled, I clearly remember this – there was nothing in my 25 plus years of college football fandom that more infuriated me at the time than the decision to send all of the players on the field. Nothing. I was, at the time, literally fighting mad.
In retrospect, is it a surprise that in a conference that seems to perceive itself as promoting the southern tradition of dignity and respect that such an act would be ill received? The SEC simply isn’t made in the tradition of say, “Da U”, where superficial excessive celebration is the norm. And on that day in October 2007, Georgia looked a great deal like Miami on the field in Jacksonville.
In all likelihood, there isn’t any conscious or subconscious decision-making by SEC referees against Georgia in this case.
At least I think.
UPDATE: And irony too!
It seems one Vince Dooley was chairman of the NCAA rules committee when the celebration penalty was enacted.
According to the Mark Schlabach article on ESPN.com, Dooley said of the rule, "The idea was to try to encourage team celebration," Dooley said. "We were trying to discourage what they do in the NFL -- the drawing attention to yourself, dancing, jiving and all that."
I doubt the level of "team celebration" we saw in Jacksonville in 2007 was what Dooley had in mind.
It seems Dooley still supports the rule -
"Over a long period of time, it's done well," Dooley said. "There is too much individualism. It's a team game. It's hard for these guys because they see what the NFL players are doing on Sunday. I think it's controlled college football for 15 years. The rule is good. It hurts when it goes against you, and it's great when it goes for you."
No truer words spoken Vince.