Monday, October 05, 2009

Karma, Kind of Sort of

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, 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.


Floridan said...

I agree -- limit the penalty to taunting and obviously choreographed stunts like Georgia group hug in the endzone.

Henry Louis Gomez said...

I gotta say that the calls for excessive celebration have been weak. The one in the UGA/LSU game was shameful. It was TD for pete's sake.

I saw a couple of weak celebration call the previous week as well.

Tommy said...

I don't think this word "karma" means what you think it means, but leaving that aside, there's this: Something Georgia did two years ago (and for which they were duly penalized) is no justification for a ref being inept at his job, which is what seems to be the implication of this post.

You're a rival fan and you're enjoying some schadenfreude, which is fine. Don't ruin it with a tortured and ultimately flawed rationalization.

Mergz said...

"I don't think this word "karma" means what you think it means"

The post is entitled "Karma, Kind of, Sort of". Which means I don't really think it is Karma.(Which would mean that the bad actions of Richt were coming back to haunt him). Kind of, sort of.

There is no rationalization here, and as I read it again, I didn't offer any. It was a terrible call by the ref. It shouldn't have happened.

And if the refs are making the call based on a bias against Georgia because of "The Celebration", it is wrong. However, one has to wonder, just maybe, it is soooooo right (that's meant as a joke - don't bother with the follow up post).

Tommy said...

"Kind of sort of" karma is like kind of sort of pregnant. If Richt comes back in the next life as a cockroach, we can discuss it then. In the meantime, the question you raise is regarding the possible vindictiveness by refs (many of whom are Georgia Tech grads -- see recent Georgia Sports Blog post), not something grandiose like the Buddhist/Hindu philosophy on the cycle of life. If you understand the term, then you know how totally (as in, not "kind of, sort of," but utterly) inapplicable it is here.

Hey, I didn't shed many tears over the supposed "Swindle in the Swamp" in 2003, so I'm not begrudging you anything here. What makes it "soooo right" for you is schadenfreude, and I'm certainly no one to judge.

skigator93 said...

"Supposed" Swindle in the Swamp??

Doesn't really compare to one really bad call that cost UGA some field position on Saturday. But if you take that one horrific call and repeat it about 6 or 7 times and place it at every pivotal point in the game, then you'd have the swindle....

Trader Rick said...

Looks like the SEC is addressing this problem, kind of, sort of...

TJ said...

I find it hard to believe a ref is going to have thoughts about a random game 2 years ago going through his head after running around and working for 3 hours. He just screwed up; I don't think he was waiting for that moment to exact revenge on behalf of all referees.

But then I still think the Celebration in 07 was pretty cool. At the time the only thing that made me mad was that we didn't make them pay for it.

Tommy said...

Mergz, turns out your post was prescient.

Dean Legge did some analysis, looking at Georgia's penalty rate pre- and post-celebration and, as you seem to allude to in this post, the 2007 Cocktail Party is a clear inflection point.

Between 2005 and the first half of 2007, Georgia averaged between 5.9 and 6.1 penalties/game, or between 42.1 and 52.6 yards/game. Afterwards the numbers skyrocket to 8.6 penalties/game in 2008 (72.2 yards) and 9.6 penalties/game (74.8 yards) so far in 2009.

In addition, in the 15 nationally televised games that preceded the '07 cocktail party, Georgia drew 16 personal foul calls. In the 15 nationally televised games afterward, Georgia was hit with 29 PF calls.

I dunno. Maybe we just got kind of, sort of sloppy. Or maybe SEC refs are kind of sort of vindictive.