During football's offseason, the NFL decided it would loosen its collar, unbutton a few top buttons and allow players to toast their on-field accomplishments with creative end zone celebrations again. For the last number of years, the league had tried to squash excessive and elaborate celebrations by firing from the hip with unsportsmanlike penalties.
But now that the art of the celebration is once again being embraced (or at least tolerated) by the NFL, players all across the league are taking advantage of the extra freedom and trying to come up with new, creative ways to showboat -- both individually and as a team.
With that in mind, let's take a look at and grade some of the best (and most disrespectful) celebrations across the NFL this past weekend.
First up, the worst:
Mark Ingram attempts to imitate the Katy Perry Backpack Kid
😂😂😂 #GoSaints pic.twitter.com/5rhnTsaZ92— NFL (@NFL) October 15, 2017
People often say "it's the thought that counts." Those people are liars, especially if they're talking about end zone celebrations. In that context, the thought doesn't count for much, as it's all about execution. And let me tell you something: Mark Ingram's execution was piss-poor here. The Backpack Kid dance is hilarious but it needs to be executed precisely, otherwise it just looks like you're at a complete loss of limbs like tranquilized Ace Ventura.
I'm honestly not sure whether I should cut Ingram some slack here since it was his first touchdown of the year. While he had five weeks of time to practice, the adrenaline and excitement can get the best of you. To his credit, Ingram owned up to the poor performance and promised to better.
It wasn't "game ready" I did so much better at home!! Folded under pressure 😂😂😂 Redemption will be had!! https://t.co/OylHiZgP9M— Mark Ingram II (@MarkIngram22) October 16, 2017
I'll choose to believe him. Grade: D-
Le'Veon Bell gets some bag work in
Le'Veon Bell punching a goal post after scoring a TD resulted in a 15-yard penalty. pic.twitter.com/tKOZfQF9WG— NFL Update (@MySportsUpdate) October 15, 2017
Not terrible, but if you're going to get flagged you probably want to get a little more bang for your buck. Grade: C
Antonio Brown does the Wu-Tang
WU-TANG FOREVER #NFLCelebrations— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) October 15, 2017
CC: @AB84 pic.twitter.com/RG8JyaQd53
I won't pretend to be super privy to what's going on here, but the general reception seems to be positive. I trust Antonio Brown as one of the league's elite celebrators, but he's also conditioned me to expect greatness every time. I don't know if this one lives up to the high standard. Grade: C+
Bonus disrespectful content: It doesn't matter what dances Brown pulled out on Sunday, this catch would have always been the most disrespectful showcase of the day. He's got absolutely no business making that snag.
Wowwwwwwww pic.twitter.com/Nu13xMfMcF— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) October 15, 2017
Marquette King goes "Lights Out"
.@MarquetteKing, most lights out punter in the @NFL? 😏#LACvsOAK pic.twitter.com/9WfnI5E8yZ— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) October 15, 2017
Oakland's Marquette King is the king of punter celebrations (although the competition isn't particularly fierce) and he delivered another fine performance on Sunday. Shawne Merriman's "Lights Out" dance is always a pretty great dance, but it's especially great when you consider the troll factor of using it against the Chargers -- the team Merriman is most associated with.
I would say it would have been even funnier had King done it on the Chargers' home field but 1. they don't play in San Diego anymore, and 2. there wouldn't have been many witnesses in the stands. Grade: A-
Golden Tate drops the People's Elbow
.@ShowtimeTate comes hard with the People's Elbow. 😂#NFLCelebrations pic.twitter.com/SrqLaqCWRd— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) October 15, 2017
Dropping the People's Elbow on an inanimate object such as a football is a hilarious concept in and of itself, but Tate's perfect execution of the move just makes it that much better. The pre-drop flair is exceptional and the elbow landing on target is important. Also, the teammate posing as a referee to tap the ball out is an excellent touch.
But far and away the best part of the sequence is the ball getting bounced off the turf and lifelessly falling right into Tate's arm. It's so perfect even The Rock had to give it props.
Heart stoppin’, elbow droppin’.. @ShowtimeTate brings the dangerously exposed elbow to the pigskin today. 👏🏾👍🏾👊🏾 #PeoplesElbow @NFL https://t.co/ZLAmJigvDl— Dwayne Johnson (@TheRock) October 15, 2017
Most disrespectful move of the week
.@elbravo_47 casually carrying @TGdadon1 12 yards is incredible. 😂 #MIAvsATL pic.twitter.com/hLEb4A9Jnw— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) October 15, 2017
On the list of humiliating things that can happen to a grown man playing in the NFL, I would imagine that getting picked up and literally carried over another man's shoulder for more than 10 yards has to be pretty high on the list. Unfortunately for Atlanta's Taylor Gabriel, he received such a treatment at the hands of Kiko Alonso on Sunday.
To be fair, Alonso could have easily inflicted a lot of damage by slamming Gabriel to the ground -- a move we've seen countless NFL players pull in the past -- so points for being a gentleman. But still, essentially turning another athlete into a sack of potatoes and carrying him over your shoulder for a leisurely stroll is quite demoralizing.