Goal-post dunk to draw a flag

ByMike Triplett ESPN logo
Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Not only is the New Orleans Saints' Jimmy Graham re-defining the tight end position, but he has also inspired a NFL rule change. According to the league's vice president of officiating, Dean Blandino, players will no longer be allowed to dunk the ball over the goal post after touchdowns.

Blandino confirmed the rule change in a radio interview with the "The Dan Patrick Show" on Tuesday. He said dunking the ball over the crossbar will now be considered a foul along with other touchdown celebrations that involve props.

Previously, dunks had been "grandfathered in" as a legal celebration, along with the "Lambeau Leap."

"We grandfathered in some, the Lambeau Leap and things like that. But dunking will come out," Blandino said, according to NFL.com. "Using the ball as a prop or any object as a prop, whether that's the goal post, the crossbar, that will come out and that will be a foul next season."

Graham is clearly the main inspiration for the rule. Twice in his career, his celebratory dunks have knocked the uprights off balance. Last season in Atlanta, a Thursday night game had to be delayed while workers re-leveled the crossbar.

And no player in the NFL will be more affected by the rule change than Graham, who has caught more touchdown passes over the past three seasons than anyone in the league (36). A former basketball player at the University of Miami, the 6-foot-7 Graham has made the goal-post dunk his trademark celebration.

Graham's response on Twitter when the potential rule change was first reported over the weekend:

"@thomasmorstead: "@ProFootballTalk: League considers banning the goal post dunk http://t.co/eMo98lHUHc" #TheJimmyGrahamRule" NOOOO!

- Jimmy Graham (@TheJimmyGraham) March 22, 2014