The NFL announced a major crackdown on taunting earlier this week, much to the dismay of football fans everywhere. The league revealed that it has instructed officials to more “strictly enforce” penalties against such actions after supposedly seeing an increase in taunting incidents in 2020.
Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh was asked how he felt about the league’s new policies during a media session on Thursday. Although he isn’t concerned about his team getting in trouble this year, he did recall back to a moment during the 2020 season when his club did get slapped with a taunting penalty.
Harbaugh referenced the Ravens’ postgame celebration in last year’s Wild Card win over the Tennessee Titans when talking about taunting, where Baltimore’s defense ran out to midfield and celebrated on the Titans’ logo after Marcus Peters made a game-clinching interception. Although the team was flagged for the incident, Harbaugh wasn’t all that upset with what happened.
“We did have the one against Tennessee [at the end of the playoff game],” the Ravens head coach said, per ESPN’s Jamison Hensley. “I wasn’t upset about that.”
John Harbaugh said the Ravens have been generally good about not getting taunting penalties, which is a point of emphasis in the NFL this season.
“We did have the one against Tennessee [at the end of the playoff game,” Harbaugh said. “I wasn’t upset about that.”
— Jamison Hensley (@jamisonhensley) August 12, 2021
The Ravens celebration was fairly harmless and occurred once the game effectively was over, so it’s not exactly what the NFL seems to be targeting with its latest crackdown. Still, if Baltimore was penalized last year for that kind of action, it would certainly be flagged for doing something similar this upcoming season.
Fans seemed to be overwhelmingly against the league’s decision to crackdown on taunting, with some reigniting the league’s unflattering nickname of the “No Fun League.” However, another contingent of those that watch the game hope that penalizing taunting will prevent more dangerous circumstances from happening on the field.
Regardless of how the league chooses to go about doling out penalties, officials should be prepared to face a lot of backlash this season. It’s only a matter of time until a player is flagged for taunting in a crucial moment of a game, which will surely lead to controversy around the NFL.
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