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NFL may consider negating touchdowns for taunting penalties

Seattle Seahawks v St Louis Rams

ST LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 28: Golden Tate #81 of the Seattle Seahawks celebrates as he runs for a touchdown during the 14-9 victory over the the St. Louis Rams at Edward Jones Dome on October 28, 2013 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

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When Seahawks receiver Golden Tate began waving at Rams safety Rodney McLeod at the 25-yard line on Tate’s way to an 80-yard touchdown, the official threw the flag before Tate had even crossed the goal line. But even though Tate committed a penalty before he scored, the touchdown still counted.

Next season, a player who does the same thing may negate his own touchdown.

NFL head of officiating Dean Blandino said on NFL Network that he thinks the Competition Committee will explore changing the NFL’s taunting rules to make them more similar to the taunting rules in the NCAA. In college football, if a player commits a taunting penalty on a touchdown, the touchdown is called back and the 15-yard penalty is enforced from the spot where the taunting began.

“A lot of people felt that the touchdown shouldn’t have counted [but] a taunting foul is always treated as a dead-ball foul, meaning whatever happened during the play counts, and the foul is enforced on the next play, which would be the kickoff,” Blandino said. “In college, this action would take back the touchdown. Tate started taunting at the 25-yard line. The college rule, that’s enforced at the spot of the foul, so they’d go from a touchdown to first-and-10 at the 40, which would be a gigantic penalty. The NFL rule, it’s a dead-ball foul, it’s enforced on the kickoff. But I’m sure that’s something that the Competition Committee will look at in the offseason.”

Taking away a touchdown for taunting seems awfully harsh. Then again, there’s a simple way to avoid that happening: Don’t taunt.