Praise John Madden, football returned this weekend. Rather than focus on the all the negative things associated with the sport right now—gruesome injuries, ginned up controversies, DraftKings commercials—we'd like to focus on one of the good things: celebrations.
On Sunday, they were spectacular. And the refs, in a departure from the days of the No Fun League, actually kept their hankies in their pockets. Thank you zebras, for recognizing that football is meant to be fun and nonsense like this makes it so.
Herewith, the definitive ranking of Sunday's best NFL celebrations .
3. Craig Robertson fencing
For special teamers, open field tackles on punt returns are the the closest they get to on-field glory. So we won't begrudge the Cleveland linebacker his fencing celebration, which brings a little gravitas to this gladiatorial sport.
2. Travis Kelce's ball punch
What makes this celebration so great is how brazen it is. Kansas City's tight end starts it a good 10 yards outside of the endzone and then, BAM. It's like the 21st century version of the spike and it's a keeper.
1. Josh Norman's wave and pony
After his pick six, the Carolina corner showed his elation with two separate displays of humility. The first, was the point and wave at Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles. That's Norman taking it back to the playground and it's golden.
But Norman's real talent shined once he got to the endzone and mounted his steed. Watch him ride the pony with such aplomb that you can almost hear Ginuwine coming out the GIF. And then, just to show his dedication, he dismounts.
Photos by Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images