The theme of bad officiating in Week 2 was taunting, as referees enforced new rules approved by the league to crack down on bad sportsmanship.
The No Fun League is in full swing, and it only took two weeks.
We’ll get into exactly what taunting is in a second, but Week 1 featured very few of these calls, making said decisions even more baffling to the players on the field when they thought a precedent had been set. Not so fast, my friends.
So-called taunting, at least in how the NFL now defines it, makes the game less fun for the players and the viewer. Players should be allowed to show off their personalities, as long as it doesn’t cross a line. Roger Goodell, the owners and the competition committee moved that line this offseason.
It’s up to the rest of us to catch up.
What is taunting in the NFL?
The following explainer really gives a more thought-out definition, but we’ll try our best. This is from FanSided’s own Jaleel Grandberry, who did a great job laying out just how the league has altered taunting rules from years past.
“Per the NFL’s rulebook, taunting is defined as “baiting or taunting acts or words that may engender ill will between teams.” The pretty vague definition carries stiff consequences. The initial call is a 15-yard penalty. If a player receives two taunting penalties he will be ejected from the game. After league offices review the incident, players can be fined and/or suspended.”
As Grandberry expresses, this gives officials a lot of wiggle room, which might not be a good thing as they learn how to employ taunting in 2021.
Here is a video the league sent to players and teams to help explain taunting in a more visual format.
As you’ll see in the following slide, said explanation didn’t do much good, as players across the league were beside themselves when the flag was thrown.