Not a week goes by this fall without fans, analysts and players discussing the NFL’s much-maligned crackdown on in-game acts viewed as taunting by the league and, thus, by officials.
Kansas City Chiefs running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire thought it funny and/or wise to point to a Dallas Cowboys defender as he crossed the goal line for a touchdown during a win that improved the Chiefs to 7-4 back on Nov. 21.
That relatively mild decision cost Kansas City yards and Edwards-Helaire some cash after the fact:
Per Sam McDowell of The Kansas City Star, Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy spoke Thursday about how players and his team can avoid such issues moving forward.
“The thing that we stress to our guys (is that) this is a point of emphasis, so regardless of what you might seem to think that it’s harmless, that’s not the case anymore,” Bieniemy explained. “We need to go back to the days of just handing the ball to the ref — get in the end zone, celebrate with your guys, and then we go on from there.”
Meanwhile, Chiefs CEO and chairman Clark Hunt echoed previous comments made by Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy, Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin and Washington Football Team coach Ron Rivera when he defended the NFL working to eliminate taunting from games viewed by impressionable fans via broadcasts.
“Overall I think the emphasis on the taunting has been a positive,” Hunt said. “It’s one of those things where when you look at it from afar, it’s an easy thing to support not doing.
“The players as a whole — the players union — have been very supportive of it. When it happens to you — when you get a flag on it on a week-to-week basis — you tend to have a little bit of a different perspective on it and a lot of times don’t feel the call was appropriate. But that’s the nature of probably a lot of NFL penalties, as well.”
The broken-record response, as always, is that the NFL isn’t changing this policy before Super Bowl LVI in February, if at all. At this point of the year, players who haven’t yet adjusted only have themselves to blame.