Evidently, whenever Antonio Brown has a camera phone in his hand, just about anybody is liable to show up on video. Yesterday, it was the rather unlikely commissioner, Roger Goodell, who featured in a brief cameo role on Brown’s Twitter page during an eight-second video during a visit to the league office.
— Antonio Brown (@AB84) June 19, 2017
Browns spent much of the day in New York and documented his encounters via social media, including a post on Instagram detailing the amount in fines that he was forced to pay last season due to the number of celebration penalties that he accumulated—fines that he will avoid in 2017, as seemingly confirmed by Goodell.
That was, as you might have guessed, the topic of the video in question. In the brief clip, Brown stands in an office with Goodell, saying that he is “with the best [commissioner] in the game”, adding, “we’re allowed to celebrate now”. Goodell gives a thumbs up, uttering “let’s do it” as he pats the star wide receiver on the back.
It is worth noting, however, that at least one of Brown’s celebrations from a year ago—the infamous ‘twerk’—would still be fined under the loosened celebration rules that were put into place this offseason in an effort both to clean up a bit of an archaic rule and to serve as a public relations boost, especially following a year that saw a notable ratings dip in prime time.
It’s quite possible that there is virtually nothing Goodell could ever do that would do much to improve his image in the eyes of most football fans, and the Steelers’ fanbase is likely among the most hostile toward him, especially considering that Pittsburgh was the lone team that did not sign on to the most recent Collective Bargaining Agreement.
I don’t have the numbers, but it would not surprise me if the Steelers would come close to leading the league in celebration penalties in recent years, and it has not been just Brown. Le’Veon Bell has had one or two on his own, and even outside linebackers coach Joey Porter has been incorporated into previously-illegal celebrations.
While this is certainly a minor topic when it comes to the game of football, I suppose it will be interesting to see how the team reacts on the field this season in key moments after successful plays. Celebrating is certainly not a prerequisite, but it is a bonding moment and a raw expression of passion for the game.
One might argue that that has been too often lacking during the on-field product. Of course there will always be those who will not take kindly to anything but jogging into the end zone and promptly handing the football to the official, ‘acting like you’ve been there’.
But what better way to act like you’ve been there before than to have a choregraphed dance prepared for it? It would seem that it would be those who don’t know how to celebrate who are the ones who don’t look like they’ve been there before.