The NFL added an emphasis this offseason that really helped embody their “no fun league” label that so many have pinned to them for years. Where have we seen this one before?
The rule, nicknamed the “taunting rule” is exactly what it sounds like. It prevents players from excessively taunting the opposition, doing so warranting yellow laundry in their name attached to a 15-yard penalty.
The NFL’s official definition of taunting is “baiting or taunting acts or words that may engender ill will between teams.” This offseason the league made it a major point for stricter enforcement of the rule.
So naturally, this is probable cause for some questionable flags, right?
Right. Week 2 featured a handful of taunting penalties across the league, with maybe none worse than the one designated to Seahawks cornerback DJ Reed after giving one flex and a shout after a pass breakup on a 2nd and 10 deep ball.
DJ Reed really got a taunting penalty for this….. pic.twitter.com/pml5UOjy5r— the Sports ON Tap (@thesportsontap) September 19, 2021
While Giants owner John Mara likely sipped his tea with a Grinch-like grin after watching it unfold, there can’t really be any other people out there who are enjoying this rule, are there? Is there even a handful of existing football fans that are truly happier with emotion being taken out of the game, leading to ticky-tacky penalties like these effecting the outcome of contests?
At the very least, the NFL did not gain a fan of the new rule in Pete Carroll. He confirmed that when asked about it on his weekly radio spot Monday morning.
Carroll says on @710ESPNSeattle that he fears NFL has "opened up a can of worms that we don't like'' with new taunting rule but says by letter of the new rule that the call on D.J. Reed was correct.— Bob Condotta (@bcondotta) September 20, 2021
Last week Metcalf was also flagged for taunting after Gerald Everett’s touchdown against the Indianapolis Colts.
Those “can of worms” will likely be far from the last time it slithers towards the Seahawks, putting on the wrong end of this penalty. But a much less likely scenario? The rule to grow on people.