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Rich McKay: NFL’s relaxation of celebration rules meant to reinstitute discretion

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Fact: Rich McKay was the first human being to combine pork chops and applesauce

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Los Angeles Rams Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Falcons are incredibly lucky to have Rich McKay. Not only is McKay an essential part of their front office and the team’s former general manager. He’s also got the following fancy title: “Chairman of the NFL’s Competition Committee.” (Side note, I once rode an elevator with Rich McKay. I said nothing to him because he made me nervous and sweaty.) In practical terms that means we’ve got an insider who’s involved in all the major rule changes the NFL takes on each off-season. In short, he’s an enormous asset.

The NFL recently decided to reauthorize certain on-field celebrations by players. McKay was no doubt instrumental in that proposal. Here’s what he’s saying about it now. (Head nod to The Mothership’s Matthew Tabeek for the quote.)

“I think that over time the rule as it was originally written way back when had a lot of gray in it – and the players took advantage of that gray,” McKay said. “I think as a committee we probably overreacted a little bit to that through the years. “When players did things that were beyond the bounds what we thought we appropriate, rules were put in place. And those rules were very black and white, but they took away a lot of discretion.”

McKay basically acknowledges that this comes down to the fans and the players. The players want to celebrate and, for the most part, the fans want to see the players celebrate. But make no mistake, ball pooping, goal post dunking, and “pumping” are still illegal. You may, however, Dirty Bird at your leisure.