CINCINNATI -- Bengals coach Marvin Lewis isn’t cheering the NFL’s new relaxed stance on touchdown celebrations.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced Tuesday that the league will soften its strict policies on touchdown celebrations, allowing players to bring back group celebrations, use the football as a prop and get on the ground to celebrate. Many players complained last season about inconsistent and overly strict application of celebration penalties.
“I’m not for that at all,” Lewis, who is on the NFL Competition Committee, said of the change. “We had a good standard, and the whole standard has always been, you want to teach people how to play the game the correct way and go about it the correct way, and that’s not a very good example for young people.”
Lewis said he didn’t like the idea of emphasizing individuals in a team sport.
“The rules were changed for a reason, and I thought we had a good outcome,” he said. “Again, this is a team game, and ... I don’t understand why we want to give in to individual celebrations.”
Lewis coached Chad Johnson and Terrell Owens, two players who came to define the era of “excessive celebration.” Johnson, in particular, was known for his outlandish celebrations, which included him donning a poncho and sombrero on the bench, doing a river dance, pretending to perform CPR on a football and using the pylon to putt the ball.
However, despite the numerous fines Johnson was hit with during his 10 seasons in Cincinnati, he was penalized only twice for unsportsmanlike conduct and once for taunting.
Owens, who was only in a Bengals uniform during the 2010 season, had several antics before that, including signing a football with a permanent marker, throwing popcorn in the air and running to the middle of the Dallas Cowboys star and celebrating there.