NFL Week 15 Celebration Grades: Gronk's spike, Eagles campfire earn high marks
Also featuring holiday-themed celebrations, a pit crew, the Ickey Shuffle, and some racewalking
The NFL regular season is quickly nearing a close and it seems there's a little added pressure to work in some creative celebrations while players still can. This week was a great one, as there were plenty of noteworthy celebrations that are deserving of over-analytical breakdowns.
Let's get straight to it.
Celek's toy soldier
49ers tight end Garrett Celek decided to get in the Christmas spirit with a wind-up toy celebration on Sunday in San Francisco. While the idea was a timely and fun one, the execution was uninspiring -- especially considering Dede Westbrook and it was awesome. Celek's version is the kind of toy that gets returned immediately in the days following Christmas. Grade: D-
Mark Ingram's swim
The Saints formed an impromptu swim team after Mark Ingram's late touchdown run helped put the Jets away. It was Ingram who seamlessly went into his swim routine after falling into the end zone, but the celebration really scored big points thanks to Michael Thomas diving in with enthusiasm on the tail end of it. Grade: C+
We've seen plenty of basketball-themed celebrations in the NFL lately (just this weekend Stefon Diggs paid tribute to Kobe Bryant, who is having his numbers retired by the Lakers on Monday) but it's not every day you get to see an alley-oop combined with a spike. The timing and execution on the oop needed to be on-point for it to work out, and fortunately Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor had the chemistry to make it happen. Also, there was some serious bounce on that spike to give it a little more emphasis. Grade: C+
Tyreek Hill's pit crew
Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill prides himself on his wheels, so it was a pretty fitting celebration for him to enlist his teammates as his own personal pit crew. Most seemed to know and embrace their roles on pit road and, most importantly, they worked with speed and efficiency to get Hill motoring away as quickly as possible. It wasn't the most extravagant celebration, but it was personalized and it was well-executed. Grade: B-
Jaydon Mickens dances it up
Jaguars wide receiver Jaydon Mickens caught two touchdowns in a blowout on Sunday and he broke out some odd dances for both of them. I'm not even going to try to understand them, but they were entertaining, so ... points! Grade: B-
Rudolph's Ickey Shuffle
I always love it when guys use a celebration synonymous with a certain team against said team, and that was the case when Kyle Rudolph broke out the Ickey Shuffle against the Bengals on Sunday. However, whether it was meant to troll or pay tribute, it wasn't good enough. It seemed a little halfhearted, if we're being honest here. Maybe it's because the Vikings were beating the snot out of Cincinnati and Rudolph didn't want to rub it in too badly. Unfortunately, we don't award points for being a gentleman here. Grade: B-
Timely. Classic. Wonderful. Grade: B+
Gronk's maniacal spike
Rob Gronkowski breaks out his signature spike after nearly every touchdown, so you know he's got to do something wild in order to make the list. After picking up 69 receiving yards (nice) and reeling in the two-point conversion after the go-ahead touchdown on the Patriots' final drive, Gronk totally emasculated Steelers safety Sean Davis. The Patriots tight end easily shook off Davis' attempt to cover him one-on-one and then maniacally laughed at Davis before spiking the ball. Pure, unadulterated bullying. It was great. Grade: A-
Philly has showed off a deep catalogue of team celebrations this season, but somehow they still manage to keep impressing. This campfire celebration was simple but awesome ... and possibly symbolic of the Eagles' need to stay hot without Carson Wentz? (Probably a stretch!) The excellent ball spin made it all possible, but it was Jay Ajayi who receives top performance honors with his hilarious slide into the campfire circle. Grade: A-
JuJu's controversial reenactment
After Martavis Bryant closed out the first half of Sunday's game against the Patriots with a touchdown catch, JuJu Smith-Schuster teamed up with him to reenact Schuster's block on Vontaze Burfict that resulted in a one-game suspension for JuJu. This is certainly the most talked-about and controversial celebration of the weekend, and it's already been received with very polarizing reactions. It's a tough one to grade because it manages to be funny, dumb and tasteless all at the same time -- something that's extremely tough to do! JuJu was supposedly remorseful for his dirty hit on Burfict, so maybe this is more of a way to protest the NFL's suspension rather than mocking Burfict ... but the Steelers also have a reputation for loving to mock the Bengals. Regardless, it really stirred the pot and, as someone who loves watching anarchy unfold, I'm here for it. Either way, something tells me the Bengals linebacker isn't going to be thrilled! Grade: A
Racewalking/speedwalking will never not be funny. Any celebration that reminds me of the greatest "Malcolm In The Middle" episode of all time is good enough to earn the weekend's top spot. Grade: A+
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