Why not have an automatic suspension for the following game if you get a taunting penalty, but reduce the in-game penalty to 15 yds enforced on the kickoff? The goal is to reduce taunting, and a one-game suspension (that escalates with repeated offenses) to a player is often a more severe penalty to the offending player, anyway.
By now you’ve seen the fake-punt touchdown by LSU punter Brad Wing (great photo at left provided by Tim Eddington to The Shreveport Times). The one that was called back due to Wing’s taunt of Florida defenders as he scurried past them and into the end zone on Saturday.
Some say the call was a bad one because the taunt wasn’t too far over the top. Others — like myself — say turning to taunt an opponent is bad enough to draw a flag.
That, of course, is the problem with the rule. It’s yet another judgement call that coaches on the rules committee have dropped on the heads of officials across the country. If you think you don’t like the rule that allows points to come off the board for taunts and celebrations, just ask an official for his take on having to make such a subjective call.
But with the penalty called in this weekend’s game, the aftermath is now set for the man who did the taunting. Yesterday, LSU defensive end Sam Montgomery said Les Miles would have something in store for his punter at practice today:
“The play was amazing, but it’s one of those things that cannot be tolerated at a top program. You’re not going to celebrate (like that). It wouldn’t happen at Alabama. It (shouldn’t) happen at LSU. So he’s going to be punished for it.
Brad Wing will be punished come Monday. He will have some running. It will be bad. Les Miles is not happy.”
Miles didn’t sound too angry about the situation today, though he made it clear a rule’s a rule:
“As the coach, if the rule’s in place I’m going to coach it. If you look at it from one perspective, how would you feel if that was your son playing against an opponent (and he gets taunted)? I don’t know if what Brad Wing does was taunting and not enjoyment (though).”
Which is why the rule never should been changed to allow points to be taken off the board. A 15-yard penalty on the ensuing kickoff is bad enough for such a subjective call, but to lose points, too?
Imagine this scenario:
There are five second left in a game. Time for one last deep pass. The trailing team’s quarterback launches a Hail Mary that reaches the 10-yard line. The ball bounces around and a receiver snares it. In his joy, he high-steps into the end zone for the win.
The play is called back because the receiver’s high-stepping could be viewed as taunting.
I feel sorry for the guys in the black and white shirts who’ve been saddled with this clunker of a rule change.