Not long after Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stevie Johnson mocked Plaxico Burress by pretending to shoot himself in the thigh during a touchdown celebration, he came under fire by some former players and analysts. Hall of Famers Shannon Sharpe called the celebration "classless," while ESPNNewYork's Rich Cimini dubbed Johnson "dim-witted" and a "classless punk."
At halftime of Sunday night's game between the Steelers and Chiefs, NBC's Bob Costas took a different approach and tackled the larger topic of outlandish touchdown celebrations. A surprisingly vituperative Costas lashed out at NFL players for their end zone antics before specifically taking aim at Johnson. For good measure, he also took a shot at the Kardashians.
"For those of you too busy keeping up with the Kardashians to notice, we live in a culture that in many ways grows more stupid and graceless by the moment," Costas said. "Sports both reflects and influences that trend, so on playing fields everywhere, true style is in decline and while mindless exhibitionism abounds."
Costas continued his attack on post-score antics by recounting the invention of the spike by former New York Giants wideout Homer Jones. He also stated his belief that Barry Sanders' habit of handing the ball to the referee after scoring a touchdown was far cooler than Jets' Mark Gastineau dancing after a sack.
"There is a difference between spontaneous and/or good-natured displays of enthusiasm and calculated displays of obnoxious self-indulgence," he said. "That train has already gone so far down the wrong track, there's probably no turning back. So our suggestion here is a more modest one. Hey, knuckleheads, is it too much to ask that you confine your buffoonery to situations that don’t directly damage your team? Week after week, game after game, we see guys who think nothing of incurring penalties for unsportsmanlike conduct, costing their team’s valuable yardage, even late in close games."
At long last, Costas went after Johnson for acting out Burress' gun incident in a Manhattan nightclub three years ago.
But in this case, it was Johnson, who shot himself in the foot, as his display cost his team a 15-yard penalty on the ensuing kickoff. And given a short field, the Jets proceeded to score in a critical game that wound up, 28-24, New York.
Costas then asked viewers why coaches haven't issued punishments over such antics, wondering when a coach will finally bench a player "on the grounds of pure selfishness and unprofessionalism detrimental to his team."
But what do you think? Have players taken touchdown celebrations too far? Or is this just another example of the powers that be have changed the NFL into the "No Fun League?"