Taunting penalties are ruining NFL games


Robert Butler

We are now halfway through the NFL season, and there have been a lot of amazing moments.

From game winning kicks, and Hail Marys to weekly underdog upsets, this NFL season has been strange but entertaining as ever.

However, the new emphasis on taunting is ruining the game.

There are more penalties, more fines, and less fun. The NFL is now being coined the “No Fun League” by fans around the country, and understandably so.

Players are now being penalized and fined for the most outrageous reasons, and it’s happening all too often.

In Week 4, Las Vegas Raiders star tight end Darren Waller spiked the ball out of bounds after a big gain, and was promptly penalized for taunting. What makes the call even worse was the fact he wasn’t even staring in the direction of the opposition. He just spiked the ball.

In Week 6, Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Genard Avery was called for taunting after tackling Buccaneers running back Leonard Fournette and staring at him face to face. Isn’t that just terrible?

In Week 9, the line was officially crossed. Perhaps the most detrimental taunting penalty this season was called in a close game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Chicago Bears

After a critical sack from Bears defensive end Cassius Marsh on third down, he walked toward the Steelers sideline.

He did not make any gestures, he did not exchange any words with any opposing players, he just simply stared toward the Steelers sideline. He was penalized, and the Steelers were awarded a first down before they went down the field, kicked a field goal, and won the game

What is that?

So far, in 2021, an outrageous 30 taunting penalties have been called through Week 10 alone. The number has tripled from last season.

I don’t just blame the refs for enforcing this malarky, but also the NFL competition committee. The executives are the true fiends causing this mess.

New York Giants owner John Mara explained, “We get kind of sick and tired of the talking that goes on from time to time on the field. We tried to balance the sportsmanship with allowing the players to have fun, and there’s always a fine line there, but none of us like to see that.”

Well guess what Mr. Mara, no fan in their right mind would believe such a thing.

Refs are determining games by penalizing players that show even the smallest amount of emotion. To the avid football fans watching these games, the new standard is getting real old, real fast.

One can only hope for the NFL to halt its never ending crackdown on what makes the game fun. Let the days return when taunting was the norm, players could express themselves freely, and smack talk and intense stare downs made the game exciting.