Excessive Celebration or Prayer?

We’re all (ok, most of us) football fans, here. And all of our teams, Pro, College, HS, even PeeWee, have been on the receiving end of a bad call. We’ve all seen a game turn, for good or for bad, on that call. And we all know that “bad call” is one of the most subjective terms in the game. So, with all of that in mind, I give you the following video:

At about :07, as the Cathedral HS QB (carrying the ball) passes the 25 and heads for the 20, he raises his hand above his head. Shortly after, as he is crossing into the Endzone, the Ref can be seen throwing a yellow flag. For what? Unsportsmanlike Conduct: Taunting.

The touchdown was invalidated, the ball was brought back. Blue Hills, the team on defense, won the game. This was the “Super Bowl” Game, to claim the Division Title. Cathedral was 11-0 going in, favored to win that title.

This has, apparently, become a ‘thing’. The video is on YouTube (obviously), and people in Boston are pretty stirred up about it. I even heard it discussed on a station out of Houston, Texas (I ♥ Radio. But not a lot, since they won’t let me sign in without using Facebook, but that’s a completely different post. Probably even a rant. Anyway…) The boy’s father says that he was simply “pointing to God in thanksgiving” as he raced down the field. Officials say he was taunting.

Of course, the conversation then inevitably turns to the “Tebow Controversy”, because of the “praising God issue”. For those who don’t know, Tim Tebow is the new QB for the Denver Broncos, recently unseating Kyle Orton (former Bear), who can’t seem to buy a break. I don’t know if it’s every play, like some people allege, but enough to be noticed, Tebow will say a prayer, make a gesture, or make a comment during an interview referring to Jesus. And people are apoplectic about it. “Tebow needs to shut up,” “Tebow should keep his religion to himself,” “God doesn’t care about touchdowns,” are comments that are regularly tossed around in reference to him. I’ve even heard “separation of church and state,” which just makes me giggle.

Those same people, though, think it was awesomely hilarious when Saints Receiver Joe Horn stashed a cellphone in the padding around the goalpost and pulled it out after scoring a touchdown against the Giants.

So, I have to ask: what, exactly, is “excessive celebration”? It is very different, obviously, when discussing professional vs amateur. Is that HS QB guilty of it? Should his team have had to forfeit the championship, and blemish an otherwise pristine season? Should Tebow have to “shut up” about his religion, and quit his on-field praise? Should Horn have been booted out on his well-padded backside for the cellphone stunt? And are they comparable?

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19 Responses to Excessive Celebration or Prayer?

  1. SKL says:

    I had a whole long comment but I had to delete it. So I will try to be brief this time.

    1) What is unsportsmanlike about being pumped about a victory? Are we seriously needing to protect athletes against the knowledge that their victor is happy? That penalty trend is unsettling on so many levels.

    2) Why should Christians have to censor themselves? Is Tebow’s behavior really more offensive / controversial than Lady Gaga’s meat costume, Boy George’s dress, Ellen’s guy clothes, Mohammad Ali’s profession of his Muslim faith, and so many other individual expressions which we proudly tolerate / celebrate?

    I’ve heard only good things about this guy. If the worst that can be said of him is that he prays, people need to go find something else to complain about.

  2. Joy says:

    I kind of like the celebrating. I loved it that day that day Randy Moss pretended to moon the packer crowd after a TD and boy, did he ever get bad press. But what the press didn’t know was the packers mooned all “visiting” team bus’s on their way out of Lambeau.

    I know Jared Allen has to pay a fine if he touches a knee to the ground doing his “cattle roping” routine after a sack but if he does the “gesture” but doesn’t touch his knee to the ground, there’s no fine. I have no idea of all the “rules” of this. What also really made me laugh two weeks ago was a team playing the Jets and they scored a TD and did the “jet wave thingy” and THEY got a taunting call! So, it’s okay for the Jets to do it but nobody else. It tickled my rear end. I’m not a fan of the Jets but I can see that it was clearly taunting.

    What I don’t like is the unfairness of the calls and what different refs call. Some call things and some don’t. I know some plays are not possible to be seen. I mean really, we all get bad calls and that really has to be the call of the game but I can’t stand when someone or a team is singled out and made fun or or have unjust penalties. Let them play football for heaven’s sake.

    We’ve all heard people accepting an academy award or at the Superbowl and many of them thank God or Jesus. I think that’s perfectly fine and good. I thank him too for my blessings. People don’t like Tebow for some reason but we don’t play them enough for me to see what they don’t like. The media doesn’t like Cutler either. Who knows why. I have heard Christians say (there was an interview last week on Fox Sports Sunday) and there were a group of people who said it’s fine and well to “thank God” in a speech or pregame interview or whatnot but what these people seemed to have a problem with was his “grandstanding” prayer on the field in front of millions because prayer is supposed to be in private and not in a group. I’d forgotten that Bible verse. So, that’s where the personal problem with that is I think.

    Otherwise, I like the celebrating. Who doesn’t jump up and down when they do good?

  3. Joy says:

    This was the scripture they were talking about. It’s not about his Christianity. It’s him praying in front of millions. I get what they’re saying but Tebow seems very sincere.

    • SKL says:

      I still think they are just picking on this guy. I mean, look at all the other people of all faiths who pray in public. That quote in the Bible has Jesus criticizing those who pray in public to show off, but in private they would steal from a widow. I don’t get the impression that Tebow is doing this to just show off, but to send a message. After all, times are different now – the public is not impressed by loud displays of devotion to God, as they were in Jesus’ day.

    • Joy says:

      People are picking on this guy but I don’t know why. But, like I said before, a LOT or people are picked on in the NFL. But in this case SKL, I think you have to overlook what you’ve read “over there” because there’s a lot of praying that goes on in the NFL. They pray as groups all the time. Before games and if someone gets hurt, the players gather to pray but Tebow goes off and just does it and it does look like it’s for attention. Like I said, we’ve only played them once so I’ve only seen the Bronco’s play a few times this year. I like him. But I do think you’re wrong about Christians in the NFL. There are a lot of them.

      Also, you can’t say say times are different now or that could open whole can or worms. You either have to go with the Bible the way it is or you don’t.

      • SKL says:

        I agree that there are lots of Christians in the NFL, but the people making a stink are mostly not NFL players.

        Also, I do think it’s appropriate to take Jesus’ comment about hypocrites in light of what was going on at that time. In those days, people admired religious men who would pray loudly in public, using lots of pretty words. So people would do it to get the reward of men’s admiration. Today, if you saw someone praying loudly in public, you’d give him a wide berth and wonder when the little white truck was coming to take him away.

        I do agree that Tebow is making somewhat of a show of his Christianity, but I hesitate to jump to the conclusion that it’s hypocrisy that motivates him, as was the fault that Jesus was speaking against. Of course I can’t see into Tebow’s heart, but neither can his critics.

        I also think that if a sports star wants to make a show of his religious beliefs, that’s no different from any other celebrity making a show of any other beliefs. Like the musicians who talk, sing, and even hold rallies to push their political beliefs (Bruce Springsteen comes to mind). Or the whole NFL dressing in pink during breast cancer research month. Or rap singers who talk about hating, hurting, and killing whitey. Who is to say one message deserves more freedom of speech / tolerance than another?

        • Joseph says:

          Well said! Every other celebrity can ‘grandstand’ for their beliefs, yet Tebow cannot.
          It’s because he uses the name Jesus and not just the all encompasing, neutered ‘god’ reference in what he says.

  4. SKL says:

    If you’re happy and you know it shut your face,
    If you’re happy and you know it don’t say grace,
    If you’re happy and you know it,
    You had better never show it,
    If you’re happy and you know it shut shut your face.

  5. Joy says:

    You know, this is about the NFL and penalties and celebrations on the field. It’s not about Bruce Springsteen or any other celeb or rap singer. The post is titled “Excessive Celebration or Prayer.” Why turn it into something it’s not?

  6. Laura says:

    Ok, here’s my thing.

    I get seriously irritated by guys who are so incredibly arrogant about their prowess that they pull stunts like the cellphone thing. It’s why I chose that particular act. Chad Ochocinco is another one who really just jerks my chain in all the wrong directions. They are self-centered jackasses who think they are better than everybody else, and need to shout it to the world every second they possibly can.

    Those guys – in the NFL, particularly – are getting paid to do a job, and they need to just get out there and do it. You don’t need to call mommy when you make a TD when it’s in your contract that you’re *supposed to make TDs*!!

    On the other hand, I don’t blame any player at all for a fist-pump here, or even a Lambeau Leap, there. Everyone deserves to celebrate their victories, even if it is expected of them. I think the big controversy is, “where should the line be drawn?”

    Pumping a fist as you’re running down the field is neither prayer (I’ll rant on that in a minute) nor “taunting,” and I think the referees were WAY out of line in throwing the yellow on it. I really do place it in the “bad call” category. Cathedral should have won that game and the Championship.

    I think the “line” is when it really is “taunting”. Mooning the other team, in my (not so) humble opinion, would be “taunting”, even if the other team started it. Planting a cell phone is taunting. A Lambeau Leap isn’t, because it started for the fans, and remains something that’s done for the fans.

    Unfortunately, it’s kind of similar to that politician (maybe this was a “chicago thing”) several years ago who said, “I can’t define porn for you, exactly, but I know it when I see it.”

    • Joy says:

      Don’t you also think a big part of it is if it’s a likable player? Some people are just likable and others aren’t. Arrogance is something I hate too. Moss shouldn’t have mooned the fans but I do have to admit, I LMAO at that. Ochocinco is one of those unlikable people. I think it’s arrogance. We as spectators are people just like the announcers and refs. Some things don’t bother us and some things do. I love the Lambeau Leap too and someone pumping the air isn’t taunting in my opinion. I also think the Dolphins who did the Jets wave was mocking them and was taunting. It did look funny though. Do you think the bottom line is who the refs like and who they don’t? Has Tebow actually gotten an “excessive celebration” penalty or is it just that people are talking about him? I couldn’t find any penalties in his stats. The guys on Fox Sports Sunday, Long, Bradshaw, Johnson, Strahan and Meneffe all like him and don’t get all the buzz so just where is this coming from?

      • Laura says:

        I do think it’s likeability. I also think that we/society has been conditioned to gravitate to those who have the more “out there” personalities. I seriously dislike Lady Gaga for that reason alone. Her music is ok, I don’t have (much of) a complaint with it – I think it’s pretty average, but I think people are WAY over the top about her because she’s outrageous.

        And now, when someone like Tebow comes along, who gives credit to others, including his God, it’s a big offensive “thing”. But those same people are out there talking about what a great guy Ochocinco is. jackass. (sorry, it’s a reflex. Every time i hear that name, i must say that)

  7. Laura says:

    And here’s my other thing…

    Tebow is no worse than any of the “excessive celebration” guys. On one hand, he’s kind of the same – using a “gimmick” to draw attention to himself. But on the other hand, he is VERY different. Those other guys are being condescending in their attitude toward everyone around them – other players, their coworkers (because that’s what NFL players are – coworkers), their peers and equals. They hold themselves above, and expect to be worshiped for what they do. Tebow is constantly deflecting the hero worship by saying, “nope, I had help”. Tebow truly believes what he is saying, and lives it every day. He started a charity for hospitalized kids while he was still in college. So he walks the walk, and doesn’t just talk the talk to draw attention to himself. I really think that it’s part of his vocabulary, as opposed to a PR stunt.

    I think what makes people uncomfortable about Tebow – including his teammates, some of whom have made fun of him behind his back WHILE on the field (seriously unsportsmanlike) – is that he IS so comfortable with his faith. The people who abuse him have no problem with others who drop to a knee in the endzone and quickly make the sign of the cross. They have no problem with the pre-game prayers by the team. They have no problem with “yeah, God helped me make that touchdown!!” THAT’S why I have a problem with all of the “Tebow Hate” going on.

    • Joy says:

      You know what else I really admire about him is he never takes full credit for anything. In every single post game interview I’ve seen with him, he thanks his teammates as well. He always give credit to his team. I hope our Ponder will be like this as he grows.

      • Laura says:

        Dangit, I forgot to put that in there!! I was thinking about that, yeah. Just this weekend, he said something like, “I’ve got the greatest team around me. They do the work.” He really understands the concept of “teamwork”

  8. Laura says:

    PS… I took out the pic of the ref holding the flag. It irritated me. Too busy. It looked better in the draft, b/c the video didn’t show up – it just came up as a link.

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