When I recapped some of the rule changes at the NFL spring meeting, one of the big changes was that touchdown celebrations will be more relaxed moving forward. One of the things I wondered, though, was whether players would be allowed to “dunk” the ball over the goalpost? Even when the league initially went to stricter rules, dunking over the goalpost was allowed...until the actual goalpost got bent one day.
I contacted Brian McCarthy, who works PR for the NFL, asking whether it would be permitted under the new rules. I didn’t receive a response. On Thursday, though, Kevin Seifert of ESPN said that the act will remain prohibited by the NFL:
The NFL will continue to prohibit players from dunking over the crossbar after touchdowns, a source confirmed Wednesday, even after it relaxed its celebration policy. ... Dunking falls under that category because of the possibility that the goalpost could be dislodged and require repairs. It also violates a rule that remains in place: using the goal post as a prop.
Seifert also noted that the league has “declined this week to address questions about specific celebrations, noting that officials will have some discretion to decide whether they are spontaneous or unsportsmanlike.” That probably explains why I didn’t hear back on my request.
Cleveland Browns players haven’t been notorious for dunking the ball over the goalpost. Going through the picture archive available to me, I could find some shots of TE Steve Heiden and WR Greg Little, but that was about it.