An excellent celebration that occurred after a touchdown Sunday was the one that Devonta Freeman did when he scored in the Falcons-Packers game. After pounding the ball into the end zone, Freeman stood up, centered himself, and then, using the football, shot a jump shot into a makeshift rim some several feet away that teammate Andy Levitre was making with his arms. (In an especially enjoyable hat-tip, the production team played NBC’s iconic “Roundball Rock” anthem from years and years ago as the broadcast went to a commercial break while showing a replay of Freeman shooting.)
But really, the NBA on NBC music in that situation was excellent TV work. pic.twitter.com/VEHej5oMvT— Andrew Joseph (@AndyJ0seph) September 18, 2017
An even better celebration, though, was the one that Kareem Hunt, who’s taken all of two weeks to become one of the most exciting players in football, did during the Chiefs-Eagles game. After scoring his second touchdown in the game, Hunt got up from the muck of bodies he’d pulverized, then set the ball on the turf as he kneeled next to it and then used it like a pillow as he pretended to take a nap. This is a video of him doing so, and I don’t mind telling you that it makes me super happy every time I look at it, which has been a lot, because it’s fantastic:
As far as pretending to do things following a touchdown is concerned, napping is absolutely a top-level selection. (A big part of the reason that Hunt’s celebration was so great was because after the game he told reporters that he did it as a way to tell people to “Stop sleeping on me,” which makes me very excited to watch the celebration he chooses to do when he wants to tell critics to get fucked.)
A bunch of others that are on that list, too:
- Pretending to row a boat. Steve Smith did this one in 2005 and it was every bit as enjoyable as you’d think it would be. The only other boat-based celebration I’d like to see is someone pretending to sail a boat. (Steve Smith has a surprisingly strong résumé of Pretending To … things. I, for one, was very appreciative of the time he pretended to be a pirate after scoring against the Buccaneers, as well as the time he pretended the football was a baby who needed her diaper changed.)
- Pretending to sell insurance. Shout-out my beloved Aaron Rodgers.
- Pretending to play an instrument. Donte Moncrief one time pretended to play the guitar (or the bass, maybe) after scoring a touchdown in a Colts-Patriots game. The guitar is the second-best instrument to pretend to play, losing out only to the piano, and juuuuuuust barely beating out the drums. The last-place instrument to pretend to play is probably the harp, which is what I imagine Matthew Stafford would go for if he happened to run in a touchdown.
- Pretending to be another person. This one happens a lot and it’s almost always great fun. Warren Sapp pretended to be Beyoncé. Cam Newton has pretended to be several people, including but not limited to Superman and LeBron James. A few people have pretended to be Michael Jackson. (The most dedicated MJ impersonator is Odell Beckham Jr., who has not only done the moonwalk, but also the “Thriller” dance and the “Beat It” dance, too.) (Sidebar: Doing the moonwalk in cleats is, to be sure, the most athletically impressive thing I have ever seen anyone do. Doing the moonwalk with cleats on is like rock climbing while wearing baby-oil gloves, if those are even a thing.) (Another sidebar: I don’t know who came up with the name “The Moonwalk” for the moonwalk, but whoever it was was truly brilliant.)
- Pretending to be another player in the NFL. This one is absolutely my favorite. Terrell Owens pretended to be Ray Lewis after scoring against the Ravens, which was deliciously petty. (Emmanuel Sanders did it, too.) Malcolm Butler one time intercepted what was going to be a touchdown pass to Antonio Brown, then got up and did Antonio Brown’s hip-wiggle celebration. Chad Johnson, among other things, used to pretend to be a Riverdancer after scoring touchdowns, and so one time Hines Ward pretended to be Chad Johnson pretending to be a Riverdancer after scoring a touchdown, and that was probably the deepest level of inception I’d ever seen a football game get to.
- Pretending to be another person, and then discarding the thing you were doing as you pretended to be the other person. Still the best example: Cam Newton likes to do the Superman thing after he scores a touchdown, pretending to open his shirt to reveal the Superman costume underneath. Colin Kaepernick one time scored a touchdown against the Panthers, then began to do the Superman thing, but then pretended to button his shirt back up to cover the Superman uniform, and then pretended to kiss his own biceps, which was his signature touchdown celebration. (Also, I know this one won’t count because it came after a sack, but I still like it: One time J.J. Watt sacked Aaron Rodgers, and when he got up, J.J. pretended to do Aaron’s championship-belt celebration, then pretended to take it off and throw it in disgust before doing his salute celebration. I laughed a lot.)
- Pretending to play craps in an alley. LOL.
- Pretending to be an animal. The very best version of this one was when DeSean Jackson, who played for the Eagles and then got let go by them, scored a long touchdown against them and then pretended not only to be an eagle, but also then pretended to kick it into the sun.
- Pretending to ride an animal. I will love punter Marquette King forever for the time he pretended to ride a horse to the sideline after he pinned the Raiders’ opponent deep in its end of the field with a great punt, and I will love Travis Kelce even more for the time he pretended to be Marquette King pretending to ride a horse after Tyreek Hill returned one of King’s punts for a touchdown.
- Pretending to go to the bathroom. Randy Moss is usually the person most often associated with this one, which is weird because (1) he didn’t pretend to use the restroom, he just pretended to moon Packers fans behind the end zone; and (2) Doug Baldwin did it DURING A LITERAL SUPER BOWL. (It feels a lot like some sort of “poop” + “bowl” joke should be made here, but I’m not so sure I want to do it.)
Pretending to play golf, or pretending to be a cameraman, or pretending to be a Riverdancer, or pretending to perform CPR on the football, or pretending to be in the NFL Hall of Fame, or pretending to propose to a cheerleader, or pretending to be worried about getting fined for excessive celebrating. Chad Johnson should have a statue in the Hall of Fame for how inventive he was in the Pretending To … subsection of touchdown celebrations, and that statue should absolutely be an animatronic thing that, every Sunday at noon, does its own Pretending To … celebration.