Buh-bye! NFL considers calling back touchdowns for taunting penalties
Relax, taunters and fans of taunting -- the rule change cannot take effect during the current NFL season. Calling back a successful touchdown play for taunting before the score cannot take effect until voted on by the NFL Competition Committee, who typically hand down rule changes in March of the NFL offseason.
But as early as 2014, the NFL may call back touchdowns for taunting -- and walk the ball back 15 yards from the spot of the taunt. In Tate's case Monday night the taunt occurred at the 25-yard line, so the Seahawks would have had the ball at the Rams' 40 instead of having the touchdown. You can see the head of officiating's comments on the taunting rule at NFL.com Video.
"A lot of people felt that the touchdown shouldn’t have counted [but] a taunting foul is always treated as a dead-ball foul, meaning whatever happened during the play counts, and the foul is enforced on the next play, which would be the kickoff,” Blandino said in remarks transcribed by ProFootballTalk. “In college, this action would take back the touchdown. Tate started taunting at the 25-yard line. The college rule, that’s enforced at the spot of the foul, so they’d go from a touchdown to first-and-10 at the 40, which would be a gigantic penalty. The NFL rule, it’s a dead-ball foul, it’s enforced on the kickoff. But I’m sure that’s something that the Competition Committee will look at in the offseason."
On one hand, this is just some pundit on a Tuesday night episode of "NFL Total Access" talking here. On the other hand, this pundit talking here is the current reigning NFL head of officiating. He does not actually sit on the competition committee, but he would logically attend some of their same meetings. He's probably allowed to put items on a meeting agenda.
Hey, I'm as big a taunting fan as anyone. I absolutely delighted in watching Tate flamboyantly wave bye-bye to his defenders from way-too-far from the goal line. At the same time, I was completely rooting for Tate's ass to be knocked out of bounds or for the ball to come loose courtesy a Rams safety. It's memorable and exciting football to watch when guys taunt.
And as much as I have despised the Pittsburgh Steelers since toddlerhood, I just loved seeing Emmanuel Sanders somersault in the air to the end zone. God, I hope he ignores Mike Tomlin and does that again.
Taunts are fun to watch. Seeing taunters get their comeuppance is fun to watch too. The great thing about enhanced penalties for taunting is they will not eliminate taunting in the NFL. Taunting penalties will get more significant, and games will get affected in new, unpredictable ways. And I'll be doing somersaults of joy watching that at home.