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Refs will penalize players who dunk over the goal post

NFC Championship - San Francisco 49ers v Atlanta Falcons

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 20: Tight end Tony Gonzalez #88 of the Atlanta Falcons dunks the ball over the goal post after catching a 10-yard touchdown in the second quarter against the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game at the Georgia Dome on January 20, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

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The goal post dunk, a favored post-touchdown celebration of many NFL players, is going the way of the Ickey Shuffle, the cell phone call, the Sharpie in the sock and all of the other celebrations banned by the No Fun League.

NFL head of officiating Dean Blandino told the Dan Patrick Show that starting this season, dunks will be a penalty. Dan Patrick Show producer Paul Pabst ‏tweets that the NFL has a rule against using the ball as a prop, and apparently that’s the rule that will be used to ban dunks. So it’s not a new rule, it’s a new interpretation of an existing rule.

As we noted a few days ago, the goal post dunk became a concern when Saints tight end (or wide receiver) Jimmy Graham knocked the goal post askew while dunking in Atlanta. The NFL is also considering making the uprights longer, which would make them more top-heavy and therefore potentially more likely to fall over entirely. That would be the NFL equivalent of a dunk that shatters the glass.

It seems unlikely that such a thing would happen, but then again we never thought a dunk would delay the game until Graham’s dunk did it. The NFL apparently doesn’t want to take any chances, and so we have the Jimmy Graham Rule.