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Dan Levy
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Dan Levy

The host of On the DL with new episodes every weekday.

Bring Back the Ickey Shuffle


Had this question been posed last off season it would have been the easiest question to answer. The worst rule in the history of the NFL was the rule that awarded the offense a completion when a receiver was pushed out of bounds prior to getting both feet in. Basically the rule was stating that a player would have gotten both feet in bounds if it wasn't for the defender pushing him out of bounds. So in other words, had it not been for solid defense, the player would have gotten his feet in.

I never understood why the NFL stopped there. Why not award completions for balls that the defense knocked down? Think about it -- had the defender not been there to knock the ball down the receiver would have caught it, presumably with both feet in bounds as well.

Reward the defense for playing defense. If that means knocking a ball down, so be it. If it means knocking a player out of bounds before he can get his feet down, kudos to you, mister defensive back. Finally the NFL wised up on that one.

So with that, my venom was taken away. I'm fine with most of the rules that remain. Sure the NFL seems meddlesome by adding rules for the sake of adding rules. The wedge rule they've instituted for the coming season is ridiculous. So is the DON'T TOUCH THE QUARTERBACK appendix that's fast becoming as big as the entire rule book.

But if there's one rule I've always hated, it's the excessive celebration rule. It's entertainment. Let the players entertain. Bring back the Ickey Shuffle. Bring back the entire offensive line getting a chance to spike it in the end zone. This is what we want to see when our favorite team scores a touchdown -- histrionics.

Would it get out of hand? Certainly it would get out of hand. But limit the celebration to 15 seconds or less and then move on with the game. TV networks can get the celebrations sponsored (heck the NCAA managed to get PATs sponsored) or use it to plug their upcoming American Dancing With the Stars On Ice extravaganza that week.

One of the saddest moments of my childhood was when the NFL made Ickey Woods move to the sidelines before he could do the Ickey Shuffle. Do you know how many times I did the Ickey Shuffle on our neighborhood playground? (Note, I tried to find video of the Ickey Shuffle and it's not online...anywhere. This is as close as it gets. This is your fault Paul Tagliabue. Maybe this is why you haven't gotten into the Hall of Fame yet.)

Do you know how many kids in the current generation have gone to play pickup games with Sharpies in their socks just in case they scored against their friends? Or how many kids learned the Riverdance? You can't spell celebration without a little gyration... or something like that.

Sure the NFL has some weird celebratory loophole where a player can do whatever he wants as long as it doesn't involve the ball. That's just ridiculous. Incorporating props into the celebration dance is what makes them fun and memorable.

If you can take a commercial break after every single score, then again after every single kickoff, let's get creative here NFL. Tie in a sponsorship deal with the TV networks to market the celebration. If a player scores a touchdown and doesn't cut the proverbial turf, roll some old footage of a different player. And for the love of God make that player Ickey Woods.

The world needs some more Shuffle.

By Dan Levy  |  May 11, 2009; 12:28 PM ET  | Category:  Dan Levy , NFL Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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All wrong. All totally wrong. If you want to see dancing, go to the ballet, where they know how to do it. If you like calisthenics, watch the floor exercises at the Olympics where they know how to do it. Football players know how to block and run and throw and catch.

Like the coach said, "act as if you expected to make it."

You probably like to watch hockey for the fighting.

Posted by: dicka1 | May 11, 2009 7:43 PM

I completely agree with Dan. The anti-fun crowd needs to loosen up. Think about it: The only point of these games is entertainment. There's no deeper purpose here that needs protection. I've never understood why an entertaining part of the game -- and anyone who has ever played touch football with friends as a kid knows that it IS part of the game -- was banned.

When the NFL fined Wes Welker for making a snow angel after scoring a touchdown, the anti-fun rule reached the point of ridiculousness. This is a league that, most of the time, is promoting violence. Vicious, concussion-inducing hit? As long as it's within the rules, go for it! This is a man's game! But do a 10-second dance? Now you've crossed the line! You might hurt your opponent's feelings!

The NFL's value system is out of whack: Celebrating acts of extreme violence but penalizing harmless acts of joy.

Posted by: ryanem1 | May 12, 2009 11:42 AM

OK, spontaneous celebration is one thing, but everything else is tawdry, classless, and betrays the already weak concept of "sportsmanship."

The fact that Dan Levy celebrates such moments in sports only shows how far our expectations for players have fallen.

Also: this "me me me" after the touchdown denies the efforts of the rest of the entire team, without whom no play would be possible.

The NFL has this just right.

Posted by: megahan07 | May 12, 2009 8:31 PM

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