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Animating the best No Fun League celebrations

Andrew Colin Beck

The NFL reached Peak No Fun League this season, the result of another attempt to crack down on the kind of insidious, soul-draining behavior that threatens to undermine the fabric of the game. In other words, spontaneous joy is out. So are most forms of celebration and darn near every ounce of shade players toss at one another. Taunting penalties have spiked, at one point up more than 200 percent compared with last season. Unsportsmanlike conduct penalties have risen, and ejections have nearly tripled last season's total.

How to make sense of a world scared straight? For your convenience, ESPN offers this handy tool. Flag or no flag? You make the call. We'll tell you if you're, uh, right.


Josh Norman, Washington Redskins | Bow and Arrow

Norman pretends to shoot a bow and arrow. He's holding neither a bow nor an arrow, but you get the point. Think of him as a modern day Robin Hood. He steals from the rich and gives to the poor. This is a penalty because it is close enough to a "machine-gun salute" that is explicitly banned in the NFL rulebook. Penalty? Yes!


Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers | End Zone Twerking

Everybody's doing the twerk, including Brown. But that's a big no-no. Nobody twerks in the NFL. Nobody. In the view of league officials, it's a sexually suggestive dance that involves gyrations, both of which are explicitly banned in the NFL rulebook. That's a penalty every time. Penalty? Yes!


Emmanuel Sanders, Denver Broncos | The Cartwheel

A cartwheel is dramatic and draws attention to the individual who is, well, cartwheeling. But surprise! It's not illegal according to NFL rules. (Wait until next year. Ha!) Sanders didn't violate any of the known restrictions. It wasn't prolonged or excessive. It wasn't sexually suggestive. It had no gyrations, and the only parts of his body that touched the ground were his hands and feet. Good job, good effort! Penalty? No!


Golden Tate, Detroit Lions | Let's Go Lions!

The Lions added a cheerleading squad this season, and all Golden Tate wanted to do was support it. So after a touchdown earlier this season, he jumped into the mix, borrowed a pair of poms and joined in the dance. No penalty! He was on the sideline, after all, and outside of the field of play. He was free to do darn near anything that didn't spur an all-around brawl. Penalty? No!


Andrew Hawkins, Cleveland Browns | The Robot

Andrew. Hawkins. Decided. He. Wanted. To. Be. A. Troll. (Good. Natured. Of. Course.) So. He. Acted. Like. A. Robot. After. Scoring. A. Touchdown. The. Browns. Receiver. Placed. The. Ball. On. The. Ground. Like. A. Mechanical. Robot. Then. He. Walked. To. The. Sideline. It. Was. Funny. And. Completely. Legal. Because. No. Other. Teammates. Jumped. In. Well. Done. And. Point. Well. Taken. Penalty? No.


Vernon Davis, Washington Redskins | The Jump Shot

Davis is 6-foot-5 and has played a little basketball in his time. Back in the day, he celebrated touchdowns by dunking over the crossbar. When the NFL outlawed that, he pulled back to shooting a little fadeaway jump shot. But as he found out this season, the fade is a foul too. It uses the ball and the crossbar as props -- the football standing in as a basketball, the crossbar as a hoop -- and that's a penalty. Penalty? Yes!


Terrelle Pryor, Cleveland Browns | The LeBron

Pryor paid homage to Cleveland legend LeBron James earlier this season, emulating James' chalk toss after scoring a touchdown. Mistake. The first segment, pictured above, was fine. What happened next -- visible on this NFL.com video -- was not. By "sprinkling" a handful of "chalk" on the ball, Pryor was using it as a prop in the celebration. The play was not penalized, but Pryor said he was fined -- an indication officials should have thrown a flag as well. Penalty? No!


Stefon Diggs, Minnesota Vikings | Diggin' It

Diggs likes to go "Gravedigger" when he scores. You know, because his name is "Diggs" and that's part of the word "Gravedigger." Lo and behold, it's perfectly legal and will remain so as long as he doesn't use the ball as a shovel, and no other players join in on the fun. Penalty? No!


Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars | Kickin' It

NFL players can spike and spin a ball, as long as they don't do it toward an opponent. The same goes for a punt. So when the Jaguars' QB celebrated a touchdown by punting the ball into the crowd at London's Wembley Stadium, Bortles was neither penalized nor fined. Who knew? Penalty? No!


Terrelle Pryor, Cleveland Browns | Ooops!

After making a big catch in Week 2, Pryor appeared to be flipping the ball to an official as he returned to the line of scrimmage. But the ball hit an opposing player, and the nearby official judged it to be taunting. Penalty? Yes!


Animations by Andrew Colin Beck