Touchdown celebrations an art form of sorts

ALLEN PARK — A monster was unleashed when the NFL loosened up the touchdown celebrations for this season.

It’s a fun thing and the Lions have been taking advantage of it.

Wide receiver Golden Tate has been having some fun in the first six weeks after his two touchdowns.

“Maybe I’m a little biased but I think our celebrations have been amazing. In my mind some of the ones in the past were OK but could be better. We’re just having fun we’re enjoying the new celebration rule and having fun,’’ Tate said on Thursday. “I think it’s drawing more attention to our league, I think we’re drawing more fans.’’

Coach Jim Caldwell said he misses most of them when they happen live, because he’s moving on to the next phase of the game.

Five things to know about the Lions and celebrations:

1. While you will never see coach Jim Caldwell involved (he barely cracks a smile during a game), he’s well aware and has no problem with it. “Coach Caldwell after the bye, after the meeting, he’s standing over me and I’m like, ‘Oh crap, what did I do? Am i in trouble? …  He showed me a video of his grandson catching a touchdown and running up to the camera and blowing a kiss.’’ That was one of Tate’s celebrations from 2016. Tate told Caldwell to make sure his grandson doesn’t practice the “Peoples Elbow” — a Tate special from the Saints game — unless he’s on a bed. Word is the 2-year-old has been practicing in his bed every night. “(The players) enjoy it and any time you can add enjoyment for them it’s good,’’ Caldwell said.

(Photo courtesy of Detroit Lions)

2. Anything that can draw more young fans to the NFL is a positive. “It’s getting our young fans more involved, I think that’s what makes these celebrations more powerful — it’s things we’ve all done,’ Tate said.  “We’ve all played hide go seek, we’ve all watched The Rock at some point, we’ve all played hopscotch, duck-duck-goose and jump rope that’s what makes it so amazing.’’

3. The Lions have a players ad hoc celebration committee comprised of the usual suspects. They discuss celebrations on group texts. “And maybe on a Monday or something we’ll throw some ideas out there and see if there’s something. If it’s something that needs to be rehearsed we’ll do it once and be done with it,’’ Tate said. They are not crazy. The key to all their hard work is winning and scoring more touchdowns. The bulk of their time goes to that goal.

4. A celebration has to be short and impactful without lasting for three acts. “It happens so quick that there’s a lot of things you have to think about. That clock is still going. You’d hate to be penalized or leave (Matt) Prater with 1 second because we’re out there messing around after a touchdown we have to manage our time,’’ Tate said. “We’re just having fun, enjoying what we do.’’

5. Quarterback Matthew Stafford is more of a bystander during these celebrations. “I think he’ll get there at some point when the time is right for him. He’s so focused during the game, he’ll come and give you a high-five and he keeps it moving. … I don’t think it’s his personality. If he wants we’d love to have him,’’ Tate said.

BONUS — “This is something fun. I remember when I grew up and would see different players celebrating i thought it was the coolest thing ever. I think about our young crowd, I understand where we are in 2017, everything is about social media. … A lot of fans miss some of those things. It’s something that’s relevant right now,’’ said Tate who uses social media to send links to celebration videos.


Author: Paula Pasche

Paula Pasche, a veteran sports writer, covers the Detroit Lions for her Lions Lowdown blog. She has written two books, "Game of My Life Detroit Lions" and "100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die" which are available at bookstores and on She won first place for column writing from the Society of Professional Journalists in Detroit (Class B) in 2011, 2012 and 2013 and was The Oakland Press 2010 Staffer of the Year.

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