Unsatisfied with what was shaping up to be the best Bowl game of the season, the referees took matters into their own hand and called a ridiculous excessive celebration penalty against Kansas State to seal Syracuse’s 36-34 victory.
With a little more than a minute remaining in the back-and-forth contest, Kansas State had the ball at the Syracuse 30-yard-line, trailing 36-28. Quarterback Carson Coffman hit Adrian Hillborn on a short pass, Hillborn broke a tackle, took it to the house, and saluted the crowd.
Here’s the video:
Yep, the referees actually called an excessive celebration penalty on that innocuous salute. As a result, the Wildcats had to convert a 2-point-play from 18-yards out, rather than 3-yards out. What would have been a likely conversion, became a longshot.
According to rule 9-2-1d, excessive celebration is: “Any delayed, excessive, prolonged or choreographed act by which a player attempts to focus attention on himself (or themselves).”
We understand that college football wants to limit the preening and prancing that happens after plays. It’s gotten out of hand. Players don’t just celebrate after a touchdown; they dance after big tackles, and scream and shout after a sack.
But don’t single-handedly alter the course of a Bowl game for such a minor violation. That defeats the purpose of the rule. It calls attention to an otherwise unnoticed celebration, and to the refs who made the call.
Worse, it was an inconsistent call. Earlier in the game a Syracuse defender actually hurt himself dancing after a tackle, and Syracuse wideout Marcus Sales made a diamond gesture after a touchdown, and neither player was called for a penalty.The fans came to watch a historic football game at the New Yankee Stadium, instead they got to see referees flex their muscles. They robbed Kansas State of a shot at sending the game in to overtime, and compromised Syracuse’s impressive win by bringing attention to themselves.
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