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‘Happy New Year’ is 15 yards and other dumb celebrations



The revelry is not limited to Times Square, as some excessive celebration penalties have been handed out on this first of January:

  • Patriots at Bills. Bills receiver Stevie Johnson was penalized 15 yards for revealing a “Happy New Year 2012” message printed on his undershirt following a touchdown (photo at link). Johnson was benched and will face a fine this week. What separates this from other celebrations, is that this was premeditated, rather than a celebration that momentarily becomes a penalty. Johnson did this in 2010 as well, and Bills coach Chan Gailey benched Johnson for his actions.
  • Redskins at Eagles. A group celebration was flagged as being excessive on the Redskins.
  • Lions at Packers (video). Packers receiver Ryan Grant apparently did an imitation “snow angel” in the end zone, although the video does not show it. The rules are that you cannot go to the ground in celebration.


Photo credit: Valerio Bruscianelli/The Gothamist

Ben Austro is the editor and founder of Football Zebras and the author of So You Think You Know Football?: The Armchair Ref's Guide to the Official Rules (on sale now)

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