The Las Vegas Raiders lost their first game of the year on Monday night against their division rival Los Angeles Chargers. Jon Gruden spoke about the new taunting rule following the loss and expressed his disdain for the emphasized penalty call.
“I don’t understand the taunting. I hate taunting. I think it’s ridiculous… I think what happens after an interception or a touchdown, we allow these celebrations, I consider that taunting. I don’t understand what happened over there on the Chargers’ sideline. But the official made the call, we have to deal with it. We couldn’t get any momentum going. That didn’t help us.”Jon Gruden
They fell to a three-score deficit in the first half but began to rally in the third quarter. They had momentum swinging in their favor until a massive play got called back. On what would have earned Vegas a 21 yard gain, Darren Waller received a taunting penalty. This set the team back and cut off their momentum. The Raiders ultimately fell to the Chargers, losing 28-14, putting a hitch in their historic start to the season.
Challenging the rules in the NFL
Like Gruden, Players, coaches, and fans have taken issue with the league’s enforcement of the taunting penalty. From their perspective, it seems rather unnecessary. Although, the NFL has grown a knack for introducing unfavorable rules to adjust the game in some manner.
Years ago, the league had everyone up in arms with the strict rules on what constitutes a catch. From there, they became more strict on touchdown celebrations, having players earn penalties for excess. Thereafter, we transitioned to a reworked idea of what should earn a roughing the passer penalty.
It seems as though the league can never settle on how the game presents itself. The institution of the taunting penalties looks like the next new thing to handicap players for however long it may last. We’ll see how teams adjust to it as the season progresses.