Pro Football Talk notes reports from both Vikings and Panthers camps that officials have specifically mentioned ball-spinning as celebrations that could draw 15-yard flags this season. In instances like this, the NFL isn’t necessarily creating new rules as much as it is making a point about enforcement or interpretation of existing rules.
In a lot of ways this is a double-edged sword. On the one hand it’s obnoxious to have something change the outcome of a football game that has so little to do with talent at playing football. On the other hand, void enforcement for unsportsmanlike penalties the game might break into constant scuffles and fighting. But the first point is what always drove me so crazy about Dwayne Rudd’s helmet toss loss. It was a rule that he broke, but in no way did enforcement of that penalty help determine which team played better football that day.
Yes, there’s something to be said about composure and focus, but I think you also see my point.
So, it stands to reason that there will be a few instances this season where guys will get flagged for doing something that went unflagged a year ago. It will likely change the face of a game either in the Browns’ favor or against it, and it will still have very little to do with which is the better football team on the field on a given day.