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Celebrate good times, come on!

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Celebrate good times, come on! (Let's celebrate)
Celebrate good times, come on! (Let's celebrate)

There's a party goin' on right here
A celebration to last throughout the years
So bring your good times, and your laughter too
We gonna celebrate your party with you - Kool and the Gang, "Celebration"

Celebrate good times, indeed, but to what extent? The NFL has always ruled with an iron fist, their uniform codes down to the last detail about how you can wear your socks may seem petty, but is it part of the NFL's mammoth success? Does legislating how far a sweat towel tucked in your belt hangs down really make a difference at all? The new NFL TD celebration rule has sunk Steve Smith's rowboat, disconnected service to Joe Horn's cell phone, and put the nuptials between Chad Johnson and that Bengal's cheerleader on hold. The No Fun League is supposedly no fun, but if that's the case, why do we all think it's so fun?

I've always had a mild distaste for the excessive TD celebration. Call me an "old fogey", out-of-touch, or whatever you like, but that's just the way it is. A simple spike, maybe a dance step or two, dunk it over the goalpost if you've got the hops, but limit it to less than 5 seconds. That's all I ask. You just scored so you should be happy, but when you're planting cell phones underneath the goal post, that's not being happy; that's saying my celebration is going to be better than the one ESPN showed last week. You're celebrating the celebration, not the TD you just scored.

Granted, Terrell Owens whipping out a Sharpie is not the decline of Western civilization. But his dance on the star a few years ago is indicative of what could be the decline of NFL civilization. The problem with these celebrations is one day it's going to go too far. Something is going to happen; I don't know what it is, but George Teague decking Owens is a good indicator. Pro football is a violent sport, huge men are on a field and are told it's OK to knock the crap out of each other; aggression and adrenaline are mainstays of the game. One day, a defensive player is going to snap and snap someone's leg.

The NFL does a remarkable job of limiting fights and cheap shots, compare it to the problem hockey had or the recent Ron Artest brawl in the NBA. Even baseball with it's faux fights after a batter gets hit are comical and only serve to lessen the appeal of the game, because in the end, the true fan, the one who buys the merchandise and watches every Sunday, just wants to see good play and their team win. There's a reason the NFL regulates everything so tightly, and because of the violent nature of their sport, they need to do it more than any major sport.

Here's my analogy, a while back New York City was kind of a dump. The subways were a mess covered with graffiti, there were empty buildings with smashed windows everywhere, and petty crime and lawlessness was out of control. So NYC hired a new top cop who brought with him the "Broken Windows" theory, which basically said if some people are in an environment where there seems to be chaos, and that anything goes, they will take advantage of that. So NYC cleaned up the mess, started to rigidly enforce even petty crimes like jumping the turnstile in the subway, and managed to dramatically increase the quality of living in the city.

The NFL does the same thing. It creates an environment of total control precisely to keep a violent game in check. It may seem petty to regulate socks, but that's part of their "Broken Windows" theory. If a player can wear whatever socks they choose, somebody else is going to want to wear a different kind of shoe, and then someone will want to put a decal on their helmet, and so on. Pretty soon you'll have sweat towels with the words "You guys are pansies" written on it.

The TD celebration rule is designed to keep the game from spinning out of control. Allowing foreign objects on the field is famous in another sport, professional wrestling; is that really where the NFL wants to go? You got Sharpies and cell phones; what's next? A picture of the opposing CB you just toasted so you can draw a big red "X" over him with your ilicit Sharpie and have a mock burial in the end zone? You can use the football as a tombstone and let your QB deliver the eulogy.

All I'm saying is we really didn't watch the game to find out that you spent your week contemplating whether giving CPR to the football is a better idea than changing its diaper. The football doesn't care, either. We came to watch an athletic contest, to watch our team win, and to enjoy the great game of professional football. Lessons on how to do the "Riverdance" I can do without.