St. Louis Rams coach and NFL competition committee co-chairman Jeff Fisher told reporters Wednesday morning that the game delay caused by one of New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham’s dunks was the reason the goalpost celebration will now draw a flag for unsportsmanlike conduct.
“The background is when the committee basically defined unsportsmanlike conduct and celebrations it grandfathered in the Lambeau Leap, provided only one person jumped into the stands,” Fisher said. “And also [the committee] made an emphasis, made it illegal, to celebrate using anything as a prop, whether it was a pen or it was a ball or what have you. But then again allowed the players to in essence use the goalpost as a prop, to dunk, to shoot, whatever.
“And then last year we had an incident in one of the games where there was a dunk and the goalpost was tilted and the game was shut down for about 25 minutes until they could get the goalpost corrected. That’s unnecessary, and so we just felt that we would include the goalpost in that category as props.”
Fisher wouldn’t specifically name Graham as the reason the goalpost is now considered a prop.
“It was a player that’s done it before that’s real tall, catches a lot of touchdown passes and is pretty good.”
“And the same play he dunked and the goalpost shifted and then he used it as a punching bag,” Fisher said. “Now we’re not going to penalize back to back but the first one, the dunk, now is going to be a penalty. We just can’t afford — can you imagine if someone had a hamstring issue after a 20-minute delay in the game because we allowed a player to dunk.”
Graham has tilted the crossbar twice during his career.