Keep them enthralled, and don’t drop the ball

Published 8:55 am Thursday, September 22, 2016

When I was a young lad, the end zone antics of Billy “White Shoes” Johnson were all the rage. Johnson was a Houston Oilers wide receiver who liked to do a crazy knee-knocking dance after scoring a touchdown.

A couple of years later we got the choreography of the Redskins’ “Fun Bunch,” the Icky Shuffle, the Rams’ “Bob and Weave,” Joe Horn’s cellphone call, and the originality of Chad Johnson and Terrell Owens.

Even though old blowhards poo-pooed those as the end of football as we knew it, it was all just silly fun.
The latest end zone celebration trend, though, makes no sense to me. Why on Earth do players suddenly feel the need to drop the ball as soon as they’ve crossed the goal line?

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As far as celebrations go, it’s what the old blowhards have always asked for. Score a touchdown, and drop the ball or flip it to the official. Seems simple enough. No showboating, no dancing, no in-your-face taunting.

And yet players keep screwing this up. In two separate college games last week, Oklahoma’s Joe Mixon and California’s Vic Enwere tried to do the quick drop and let the football go at the 1-yard line. It’s happened at least twice in the NFL that I can remember, and in 2014 Oregon returned it for a touchdown after a Utah receiver did it.

There is no upside to this at all. For the player, the risk of looking stupid by mistiming the drop far outweighs the half-second highlight of doing it right. For his teammates, it’s risking destroying their hard work on a play and hurting the team by creating a turnover.

If I were a teammate of someone who did the quick drop and messed it up, you can bet there would be some harsh words in the locker room or on the sideline afterward. If I were their coach, they’d run stadium steps until their legs fell off.

Thankfully, I haven’t seen this trickle down to the high school level yet. That’s typically the last place these trends wind up. Hopefully our local guys sit this one out.

So, to all of our local football players reading this, consider it a public service announcement: Keep the crowd enthralled, and don’t drop the ball.

You’ll look a lot cooler by actually scoring a touchdown, and no one will laugh at you.

Ernest Bowker is a sports writer for The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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