Not everyone gets the chance to score a touchdown in the NFL. Some players never play a down in the league, let alone make it into the end zone.
Some players have become synonymous with certain TD celebrations, and others have gone the extra mile and coined their own unique celebrations. Watching a player boast after putting his team up on the board just adds another element of excitement to the game. It pumps up the fans, and it’s a great opportunity for a player to stand out in what’s always been a game with an emphasis on the team.
While some celebrations are certainly unique, not all of them are all that memorable. Some are just terrible, and some can even be seen as offensive (Randy Moss mooning the masses at Lambeau). But while every season is bound to produce a highlight reel of ridiculous celebration follies, it’s guaranteed to create a few memorable ones. And as long as they’re entertaining, who cares if they’re good or not?
With that said here’s a look at 10 more of the most memorable celebrations in football.
You can check out Part 1 of the Most Memorable Touchdown Celebrations here.
10. The Ickey Shuffle
Three hops to the left, three to the right, three hops back, spike of the ball and a finger twirl. This is probably one of the most complicated celebrations on this list. It was made popular by Bengals rookie running back Ickey Woods in the late 80s, but its popularity faded almost as fast as its creator’s career. Woods coined the infamous celebration in 1988 during his rookie year, when he rushed for 1,066 yards, 15 touchdowns and a Super Bowl appearance. The Shuffle never made its way into the big game however, as Woods was held to 79 yards rushing with no scores on the day. By 1991 he was out of the league and the Shuffle followed not long after.
9. Randall Hill Keeps Running
Randall “The Thrill” Hill was a standout at the U, earning over 3,800 yards receiving. Though his 7-year NFL career never did live up to the expectations held for a first round pick, he still lives on in the minds of some fans as an excellent collegiate receiver. One game in particular, the 1991 Cotton Bowl cemented his fame. After catching a bomb and bringing it in for a touchdown, “The Thrill” kept running… right into the tunnel. He then proceeded to cap off the 48 yard TD with a slick six shooter routine, giving Miami an ever greater lead in the blowout game.
8. The Heisman
Desmond Howard made this one famous after he decided to mimic the well known Heisman Trophy pose after returning a punt against Ohio State in 1991. That same year Howard won the prestigious Heisman and went on to be drafted 4th overall by the Redskins in 1992. Since then, the pose has lived on as one of the most popular celebrations in football. Though it’s rarely seen at the professional level the pose is still one of the more popular touchdown celebrations in college football.
7. The Dirty Bird
When the Atlanta Falcons made their Super Bowl run in 1998 the one thing on everyone’s mind wasn’t that their defense ranked second in the league against the run, or that their takeaway to giveaway differential was the best in the NFL. No, what everyone couldn’t get enough of was the Dirty Bird. The celebration was started by running back Jamal Anderson, who would dance then flap his arms like a bird after scoring. It ended up becoming so popular that everyone gave it a try, even the normally mild-mannered Dan Reeves. But like so many other touchdown celebrations, it had its 15 minutes and isn’t really used in the NFL anymore.
6. B.J. Raji’s TD Dance
The 2010 NFC Championship saw Jay Cutler fall and the Packers D pick off 3 passes, one of which was returned for a TD. No, it wasn’t a defensive back or linebacker, it wasn’t even a defensive end. It was one of the big boys, B.J. Raji. He intercepted a Caleb Hanie pass and returned it 18 yards, then tried his hand at what one can assume was some sort of river dance. The big boys don’t always get a chance to show their moves, so when they do it’s bound to be something enjoyable.
5. Dunking the Ball
Most people will remember legendary tight end Tony Gonzales doing this after catching a TD. However, while it was Gonzales who is best remembered for his use of the Dunk, it’s former Cowboys linebacker Thomas “Hollywood” Henderson who pioneered the move after returning a Gary Huff pass 79 yards and slamming the ball right over the crossbar. The most memorable player to do it in recent years is Saints tight end Jimmy Graham, who actually makes it his business to destroy the crossbar. Proof? He actually tilted the goal posts in a game against the Falcons last season and the game had to be delayed while they were realigned. The NFL has recently banned the crossbar dunk celebration and will be enforcing that rule with a penalty. That isn’t stopping Graham, who responded by saying he plans on being one of the most penalized players in the league in 2014.
4. Spiking the Ball
This one gets right to the point. No fancy dance, no showboating, just a simple spike to the ground. A while back this move was banned from use outside of the end zone, resulting in a delay of game. The move was first used by New York Giants receiver Homer Jones back in 1965. The move is banned in the NCAA but is a popular way to celebrate a score by many NFL players, like New England’s Rob Gronkowski who has become synonymous with spiking the ball.
3. Billy “White Shoes” Johnson’s Funky Chicken
Billy Johnson is one of the godfathers of celebrating after a touchdown. The return ace started his career with the Houston Oilers back in 1974 where he earned two Pro Bowl nods. It was in Houston that he started to gain recognition for celebrating touchdowns with a dance called “The Funky Chicken.” That, along with his flashy white shoes made him popular with the Houston faithful. Over the span of his 14-year career Johnson performed his Funky Chicken with the Atlanta Falcons, Washington Redskins and the CFL’s Montreal Alouettes. Skip ahead to 2:20 to see just how well he was known for his dance moves.
2. The Barry Sanders Handoff
Many might consider this to be the best touchdown celebration of all time, while others may say that it doesn’t even qualify as one. Barry Sanders kept it classy when it came to scoring touchdowns. He rarely celebrated a score, instead he chose to hand the ball off to the official and celebrate with his teammates. The humility of the act contrasted with Sanders’ flashy running style, but the simple handoff went on to become his signature move after scoring a TD. It fit perfectly with his calm and relaxed demeanor and people still associate Sanders with this move today.
1. The Lambeau Leap
It all started when safety LeRoy Butler jumped into the stands at Lambeau Field after scoring off a lateral from his teammate Reggie White. Afterwards wideout Robert Brooks made the move popular by regularly performing it after a touchdown. While so many fan favourite celebrations are slowly becoming casualties of rules changes, the Lambeau Leap has been grandfathered, so no one can touch this iconic celebration. What really makes this one special is that it’s one of the only celebrations that involves the fans. While most celebrations are focused on solely the player, this one is so huge because of the players’ interaction with the crowd and their reactions to the score.