The NFL does not stand for the “No Fun League.” That’s the disparaging reference made by those who say the league is overreacting with a recent rule change. Starting next season, there will be automatic 15-yard, unsportsmanlike conduct penalties — in addition to fines — for “organized and choreographed” end-zone displays that include “extraneous objects” such as Sharpies, cell phones and eventually lap dancers.
What the league is apparently trying to do is rebottle the genie of hip-hop culture that increasingly dominates the playing — and marketing — of pro football. Officials, such as Rich McKay, co-chair of the league’s competition committee, are trying to avoid the appellation of the “No Class League” without actually using those words. That’s because rehearsed showboating is a boorish, juvenile, attention-attracting stunt — not a manifestation of exuberance or expression of jubilation.
By cracking down on its classless celebrants, the NFL would also be doing a major favor for a lot of high school football programs, which desperately need better role models.