It sounds like Saints All-Pro tight end Jimmy Graham has no problem spending some of his money next year paying fines.
That’s because the NFL’s vice president of officiating, Dean Blandino, told the “Dan Patrick Show” on Tuesday that the league will penalize any players who dunk the ball over the crossbar of the goalposts. Graham famously made it a tradition to perform that very celebration after each of his 44 career TD grabs (including the playoffs).
Upon hearing the news, he reacted defiantly, saying via Twitter: “I guess I’ll have to lead the @nfl in penalties next year! #funpolice.” He also attached a picture of himself elevating to dunk the ball over a crossbar at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome — a superimposed image of a referee was positioned in front of him as if to block it.
More than 2,000 people retweeted Graham’s message and photo within 20 minutes of originally posting them. He later deleted the tweet but then re-sent it.
Banning dunks will not be a new rule, Blandino explained. Officials will just make it a point to enforce an existing regulation prohibiting the use of the ball as a prop for celebrations.
“Using the ball as a prop or any object as a prop, whether that’s the goal post, the crossbar, that ... will be a foul next season,” Blandino told the Patrick show, according to NFL.com.
Graham knocked the crossbar and goalposts askew and caused a slight delay during a Saints win at Atlanta on Nov. 21. Few doubted Tuesday’s revelation was a direct consequence of that celebration.
It was the second time Graham had made the crossbar in that same end zone lean to one side after a dunk. He did the same thing on a two-handed jam following a 21-yard TD in 2011.