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UT’s Celebrations Drew Attention From NFL’ers

If you happened to have missed last week’s Tennessee-North Carolina Music City Bowl, you missed what might have gone down as the most celebrations by a losing team in football history.

We wrote as much the following morning, pointing out the numerous Tennessee “loco” finger rolls, salutes and even a double-throat slash by the Vol quarterback toward UNC’s bench.  (It least it wasn’t the dreaded triple-dog throat slash.)

Naturally, we were lit up by Vol fans who claimed that we must “hate” Tennessee.  (For the record, we are also apparently “haters” of Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, South Carolina, and Vanderbilt, to hear their fans tell it.  But we’ve been accused of “loving” all of those teams, too, so maybe the bias is in a few readers’ eyes and not in our writing.)

The most common emails we received from Big Orange Nation last week said either:


“You’re just looking for another reason to hate on Tennessee…”

or

“Tennessee didn’t celebrate anymore than any other team.”


All evidence to the contrary.  The Vols’ antics in their 30-27 double-overtime loss drew the attention of two of the nation’s most-popular NFL writers.

Peter King of SI.com compared one of UT’s most over-the-top celebrations to the salute that drew a game-changing flag in the Pinstripe Bowl in his Monday Morning Quarterback column:


“Then, in the other bowl game that day, the Tennessee quarterback, Tyler Bray, threw a touchdown pass and gave the crowd a double throat slash… and got nothing.  Nice rules you’ve got, NCAA.”


ESPN.com’s Gregg Easterbrook walked the same path in his Tuesday Morning Quarterback column:


“Along comes the next bowl, North Carolina at Tennessee.  On one Volunteers touchdown, the receiver did a choreographed dance as a teammate leapfrogged him; on another, the receiver danced elaborately, then a teammate lifted him into the air.  No flag in either case.    Rules are supposed to be consistent.”


I don’t remember seeing a leapfrog during that game, but the point’s the same — everyone noticed UT’s celebrations.

Now, we could say, “We told you so.”  We could say, “We told you that Derek Dooley’s team embarrassed itself by offering up more celebrations than any other team in the nearly 40 bowls played so far.”

But we won’t say that. 

Instead we’ll tell you what many of you most want to hear: Peter King and Gregg Easterbrook just hate the Vols, too.

 


52 comments
Ethan Fulwood
Ethan Fulwood

Seriously John, I like a lot of what you write and think you're a good journalist, but I think you've gotten a little too deep into this one. Those writers were obviously comparing the Tennessee game to the Pinstripe Bowl that was on [i]right before[/i] and where a celebration penalty decided the game. I doubt nearly as many people would have noticed, and the cameras might not have even caught, Tennessee's celebrations were it not for that juxtaposition.

That said, many of them were juvenile and stupid, the throat slash particularly. I doubt we'll see them back next season.

wkb12
wkb12

Yes Pennington, you're always right..Jesus Christ, get over yourself already. I bet you watch yourself jerkoff in the mirror don't you?

TenStories
TenStories

Let me get this straight. There is an uproar that the flag at the pinstripe bowl shouldn't have been thrown. Then the sports writers want to use that as some sort of benchmark?

I am so starved for some intellegent sports commentary right now.

YamslingeR
YamslingeR

Dooley is an attorney. Nuff said.

OrangeVol
OrangeVol

I have been a Vol fan since the '60s, Whatever happened to just handing the ball to the ref after a big play and then running to the sideline to celebrate with your team? I am tired of all of the saluting, kneeling, posing, etc. that takes place in today's college games. If these players want to make a real name for themselves, make great plays and then act like gentlemen when the plays are completed. It would also help if the calls were consistent across all of the refs working these games.

alyson13
alyson13

I'm curious as to why NO ONE, author included, failed to mention the behavior of the majority of UNC players towards the UT fans, to include crotch grabbing (etc)... Seriously. It was crazy. Don't throw stones at glass houses.

legacy38
legacy38

It's just a ball game! Get over it and move on! I only regret that Tennessee will not get to play a repeat game with UNC. I would like to have seen how the Tennessee vs UNC record would be over a ten year period. Unfortunately, it will not happen.

John Rutherford
John Rutherford

You know you Tennessee haters and some of you long time fans. The young QB Tennessee has is only about 1 year removed from High School. Think of the fun this young man had this year. Even though the game was lost, think about the talent this young team had this year. After last year and no class kiffen you can thank Coach and this team for the pure effort these young men put forth. I used to hate the Vols and watch every week hoping they would get beat. I am now for the Vols in every way. Coach Dooley has shown himself to be a class act i every way. I think Phil Fulmer was an old fudy dutty in the way he handled his teams. The team this acted like they wanted to play and win. A few breaks their way and they would have a winning season. The team still has growing pains but think of all the freshman who played and the experience they received. I am now been converted from a Florida fan to a Tennessee fan. Go Vols. Thank you Coach, Tyler Bray and all the other young men on this team. Again, you are a pleasure to watch.

captennmike
captennmike

I believe Mike Hamilton is a better fund raiser than he is an athletic director. We should not have bailed out of the NC schedule, the bowl game showed that. Fulmer was released prematurely no doubt. Kiffen was... well Kiffen, enough said, let USC have him. Dooley is our coach now, he deserves the opportunity to rebuild and prove himself. This game was proof that he has a handful of kids who do not know how to control their emotions and that he has not learned how to instill disipline in first year recruits. We have a reason to look forward to the future, however, I would have feel better about Tyler Brays potential for leadership had he been man enough to walk across the field and shake hands with the team that beat him. Dooley has yet to demonstrate that he can lead consistently, NC and LSU both revealed flaws in disicipline. However, the team is young, the coach is young, there is a lot of potential for ut to return to the ranks of the elite. Have said that, Kerobinsonii and Bill can KMA! GO VOLS!!

captennmike
captennmike

I am a huge Tennessee fan and I also am disappointed in the way our program has been mishandled the past few years. The vast majarioty of Tennessee Fans are the best fans any school could ask for. Keep in mind that this is a game, and sportsmanship should be require of not only the players, but also of the fans. Most of the fans are far older and experienced than the players on the field, however from the maturity displayed often on both sides of the message board it is hard to tell who is the most mature. Some of the attitudes and comments displayed here are even more pathetic than Tyler Brays juvenile conduct displayed after the game, but he is a kid and at least has the opportunity to grow up as he matures, somehow I think it is too late for some of those who post such hateful and non-productive diatribes online. The foundation of any program is it's fan base, and all fans regardless of thier schools would do well to remember that no constuct has more integrity than the foundation it is built on.

David Fite
David Fite

It isn't classy. With publicity, it won't last. We'll get a flag whem we can least afford it. STOP IT. Class of 1968.

kd45
kd45

And what's wrong with that, Mr. Mod Squad??

P. Manning
P. Manning

When I attending the BO I never resorted to the childish antics this current team exhibits excessively. BO Nation can say what it wants, but the game was fairly officiated and the team's behavior took away from its strong play on the field. I just wish all of you would grow a pair and stop crying.

- P. Manning

B Parcells
B Parcells

It's over. UNC wins! Get over it VOLS.

Guest
Guest

Cool it DUDES . . . just cool it!

Indy-Volfan
Indy-Volfan

I have to say as a life long VOL fan I was not happy with the all the celebrations. The challenge will be to keep the competitive drive but lose the extra show at the end. I suggest watching all of former Colt's receiver Marvin Harrisons TD's (and there was a lot of them). I think he might have celebrated once, maybe!!!! GBO

hobbs4vols
hobbs4vols

Come on now....Let's be real.....The Vols never get a break no matter what....so we showed out alittle, no more than any other team at times if you ask me. Bray is a very young talented player & I'm sure finger rolling & throat slash is not meant in the way that you haters take it.....Get over it!! If the Ref's did not call it!
Is that all you people can find to write about? The Vols have had a tough couple of years and please forgive them for showing some grit!!! After all when the Vols play they play the other team & the officals!

31voldog
31voldog

Celebrating is ridiculas. You just did the job you're supposed to do, nothing more. Be happy or excited you made a good play, then go get ready to do it again. Celebration was not tolerated on teams I played on...........to much or inappropriate celebration and you were riding the bench, no questions asked. Hopefully next year Dooley will put an end to all of that. Congratulations to UNC. Great game, and for them, a great year. All you who think UT fans have no class, come see a game next year. I'm sure you'll change your mind.........Neyland and the fans are fantastic.

31voldog
31voldog

Wow. UNC finally has a half decent football team and you start demeaning UT and it's fans.......and you say we have no class. UNC barely beats one of the worst teams UT has had in yrs and now the tarheels are world beaters.
Give me a break. I for one wish we had not bought our way out of the games. It would have been fun. Chapel Hill is a great place with mostly great people, and even though I am a huge Vol fan would never speak of all fans in general from an opposing school as being classless.
Keep on thinking UT is afraid of UNC. We'll reschedule the series I hope, and see what happens. Bill and Dr. Williams, you really make your respective schools appear juvenile and "classless" It's a game, take a pill.
ji

t Ganski
t Ganski

In fact, on the day of the UNC - TN game that was the same day of the K State game, I was wondering why some sports news show did not run a side by side of ALL the TN celebrations and gestures compared to the K State game to highlight the gross inconsistencies. In the end, both K State and TN perhaps learned a lesson about good and bad karma.

Dr.John Williams
Dr.John Williams

Amen to that Bill.TN football is without question in a class by itself of having no class.It has permeated down from the A.D.(who gets the nod for lack of class by paying out millions of the university's money to break a contract for TN to play UNC to avoid getting beat up by the trainload of talent Butch Davis is bringing into Chapel Hill.)What did the NCAA do to TN for breaking a binding contract with a pay out of the university's money? NOTHING!The players and fans did things during and after the game that warrant penalties by the NCAA.)Seems as if football must come before God,country,or anything else in that state.In defense of coach Dooley,I'll give him a pass this time.He is a young,inexperienced coach to a big time program that was threatening of firing him for most of season.I hope he can discipline his players in the future and bring class back into this renigade program.Phil Fullmer would not tolerate such behavior.No,I am not a UNC football fan, but am an avid football fan and graduate of UVa.We might be down,but we'll come back and do it with class.

alexvUNC
alexvUNC

What I loved most...was watching that punk QB first give the double slash toward the Carolina bench, and then was seen crying like the punk he was on the sideline after throwing the interception to lose the game. If you are cocky enough when you are riding high, you need to be a bit more than a 2 year old after losing the game for your classless team.

Cal
Cal

Correction, started or played 16 true freshmen. Again, 3rd most in FBS.

Kerobinsonii
Kerobinsonii

Act like you've been there before! Apparntley the Vols have not ! Totaly classless!

mtnrider2
mtnrider2

I have to agree. The celebrating was flagrant and over the top. I am a season ticket holder and consider myself a Tennessee fan, but I found that behavior embarrassing. I am surprised that Dooley has allowed this to continue, has the media questioned him on this?. I would prefer we act like we've scored touchdowns before. No one is saying you can't be exuberant and happy for your team when you score, but these special signs, acts, & dances are too much.

Cal
Cal

At least Tennessee is getting some attention from somebody in the NFL. In all seriousness, the celebration BS needs to stop. But in reality, I guess the refs let Tennessee get away with having a little fun because they knew at the end of the game they would break their hearts. Again. As you said yesterday in your own piece John that it should have been a 15 yard penalty. Tennessee has had the worst luck since the 2000's began. The kids on that team had three coaches in three years. I think it is okay for them to have a little fun, but it must stop next season because this team will be much improved and they can act like they have been there before.

guest
guest

And you were at which game? Saw none of that. Oh. Maybe it was because I couldn't see through all the debris the UT fans were throwing at me, the UNC bench and the field.

Rob Savage
Rob Savage

I guess the Tarheels were just responding to the foul mouth TN fans,having had full Gator Aid bottles thrown at them, glass flasks, spit on and more. See pictures of the gathering of garbage thrown at UNC fans and players. I was there and it was the worse display of bad sportsmanship I have ever witnessed in my 64 years. Shame, Shame

Kevin
Kevin

Because there was no crotch grabbing going on by the UNC players??? The only thing I saw was the UT players out of control... Really enjoyed their hero to goat act there in the final minutes of the game and into OT... I only hope that UT continues to loses all their games in that fashion.

phil
phil

Where's the proof of the UNC players doing this?? There's plenty of footage to back up Tennessee's players (and fans actions - throwing bottles onto the field, etc.) classless actions!! Unless you can provide proof, how about not providing false information.

kerobinsonii
kerobinsonii

You can suck my dick fag ! Your Big Orange ain't shit. Now sit down and shut the fuck up.

guest
guest

Except these 'older and more experienced' UT fans were throwing things onto the field, the UNC bench, and into the UNC fan section. I'm not so sure where these great UT fans are to be found...

Kerobinsonii
Kerobinsonii

Realy ? All the officials in America are out for blood from Tennessee? That's loco !

kd45
kd45

So is your spelling.

TarHeel Born
TarHeel Born

UT fans for the most part are great! Their support is enviable. That support has given UT the ability to build an incredible stadium, and field excellent teams, for the most part. I know the AD at UNC would love to be able to sell 100K+ tickets game after game after game. That is really showing your support. Truth be told, I'm a little envious.
However, any fan who throws stuff at the bench of an opposing team should be banned for life.

Kerobinsonii
Kerobinsonii

UNC has had a lot of "half decent" football teams, however they are better know for Basketball. They do have a proud football tradition. It is sad that Tennesse and South Carolina both backed out of playing them.

Walter Delashmit
Walter Delashmit

I also wish Mike Hamilton would not have brought out the UNC series. We would have embarrassed them next year.

Dr. Walter H. Delashmit

rote
rote

All you haters on TN, kiss our arse...N Carolina should be so proud of having 18 players on the field and and all of the Refs on their side...I don't agree with the throat slash but everything else was ok...heck every team on the field does the same saluting to their fans...Kiss my behind ...GBO!

Walter Delashmit
Walter Delashmit

I am a Phil Fulmer supporter and will be forever. We should never have let him go. HOWEVER, no one was threatening to fire Dooley and the NCAA has no authority over schedules and changing of schedules. Butch Davis trainload of talent may be the most expensive talent in all of sports outside of the baseball New York Yankees.

BTW - I also hated the celebrations, always have, always will even in the NFL. I am also a huge Tennessee and a Tennessee grad (MSEE, 1968).

Dr. Walter H. Delashmit

kd45
kd45

We'll see who the punk is next year,pal. At least we didn't have as much trouble with players as y'all did.

31voldog
31voldog

AlexvUNC, you're pretty hard on an 18 yr old aren't you? I guess when you started at QB for an outstanding university like UT or UNC you never did anything like that, did you? Did you ever get caught up in the moment when you played in the bowl game and do things you regret? I'm sorry, I don't know your name. Which team was it you started at QB for, and what bowl game was it?
ya, that's what I thought!
It was a bad thing our QB did, he knows it, won't happen again. But you'll probably continue to be a couch quarterback with a bad attitude.
ji

kd45
kd45

Oh, we've been there before...many times...Leave the kids have some fun.

Cal
Cal

No, most of these Vols have not been there before. Tennessee started 16 true freshmen, which is the thrid most in FBS this season. So techincally, you are right most of the Vols on this years team have not been there before. But I have a pretty good feeling that in the future they will be there many times with Tyler Bray playing QB.

guest
guest

Agreed-as a UT fan I found the "slashing" done by bray to be an embarrassment - he has shown such promise as a quarterback. Too bad he hasn't shown as much promise as a good sport and role model

Angie Settle
Angie Settle

I happen to be a BIG Tennessee Fan! We Celebrated way to much and They did not represent the UT He needs to get some ideas from Peyton on how to act on the field-he has only played what 5 games! This needs to be addressed by the coach
You act like a jerk-then you cry-NO CRYING IN FOOTBALL!!!

JGB
JGB

Well said! And they need to take a real serious look at their celebration rules. Their calls are way too inconsistent. The Pinstripe Bowl incident is a perfect example.

marcus19
marcus19

Even though the loss is heartbreaking, I'm most upset over the attitude that Bray and others displayed. I'm a hard core UT fan but I am
extremely embarrassed by the jerk attitudes. That's not what UT is about. I'm disappointed that none of the coaches got in thier grill
over this. You are a mediocre team, 6-6, and losing the game as well and they want to taunt. That's just idiotic.
Always win or lose with dignity and class.

Gene
Gene

There is no indication that Butch Davis or anyone at UNC paid anyone to come to UNC. There is no need to trash UNC. There is evidence that the NCAA is inconsistent in the enforcement of its rules. A Tar Heel paid his own way to California, accepted a ride from the airport with a former Tar Heel, spends the weekend in his home, and returns, paying his own way. He gets penalized for improper benefits, losing 4 games. T Pryor frequently uses free loaner cars from a local dealer over a period of two years, as do many of his teammates, and the NCAA ignores it totally.
The demonstrations do not anger me. It just shows a lack of wisdom. When fans stormed the court after beating Duke, Dean Smith was upset. "Its like we haven't beaten them before, and won't again."
The selectivity of the NCAA does bother me.

Kerobinsonii
Kerobinsonii

I think the AD forgot the pecking order in the SEC and got a little greedy. He tried Lane Kiffin and failed! Fulmer should have not been fired, true he was haveing some bad years but he was always a solid coach and had class. Class being something sorley missed these days in Tennessee men's athletics.

Rob
Rob

Don't know about Alex, but I was a QB on UNC's team in the early '80's. Didn't start, but was very close to those who did, and was on the sidelines at the Sun Bowl when we beat Texas in '82. Ethan Horton, RB and MVP of the game could have taunted Texas. He didn't. Scott Stankavage, QB, could have taunted them. He didn't, nor did any of the rest of our players as we were taught to win with class and lose with dignity. Celebrate? Sure. Jump, Hug your teammates, your coaches, salute your fans and thank them for being there, then shake hands with your opponents and leave the field.

Bray is a good QB. I hope he has learned his lesson and will show some class going forward.

T Ganski
T Ganski

Cal, I would be willing to bet that almost every player on TN roster, regardless of year, has been in a big game, big play situation before just as most any D1 prospect at any school with any history of success in any sport has been. Unfortunately, class is not something taught at younger ages as it should be.

guest
guest

Rob, Thank you! Historically, as you said, the Heels win with class and lose with dignity. I am always proud to be a Tar Heel, but never have I been more proud of the conduct of the football team than I was this season. From start to finish they comported themselves with dignity and humility, not reacting to either positive or negative press. They ended the season on such a high note. During a bowl game in which the opposing team's fans were throwing things onto the field and the UNC bench, not once did I see a Heel react. Coach Davis, AD Baddour and Chancellor Thorpe should all be extremely proud of these young men. They carried on a long-standing tradition of class and good sportsmanship. Go Heels.

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