Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Clarification: "Mile High Salute" Was Not Completely Banned By the NFL

There's been a mild outrage surrounding the NFL's modified celebrating rules that hit the news on Tuesday.  In regards to the Denver Broncos, some seemingly misinterpreted the new rules as completely banning the "Mile High Salute," which was popularized by running back Terrell Davis in the late 1990s.

The league on Monday rolled out a host of new rules that included restrictions for celebrations.  As PFT pointed out, the NFL has been stressing the fine line between celebrating and taunting, with the latter resulting in a 15-yard penalty.

See some of the banned taunts below:
To be clear, the "Mile High Salute" will not be penalized this season—unless it is done in a taunting manner.

In the NFL rule book, Rule 12, Section 3, Article 1, Note 3 states the following:
Violations of (b) will be penalized if any of the acts are committed directly at an opponent. These acts include but are not limited to: sack dances; home run swing; incredible hulk; spiking the ball; spinning the ball; throwing or shoving the ball; pointing; pointing the ball; verbal taunting; military salute; standing over an opponent (prolonged and with provocation); or dancing.  (Emphasis added.)
This rule clearly states that players will be penalized for committing an act against an opposing player.  When Broncos players have historically performed the salute, they have done it directed to the fans, not in a taunting manner.

This all is open to interpretation, but if I am reading the rule correctly, it sounds like the "Mile High Salute" will still be permitted this season, as long as it is not done directly at an opposing player/team.