Diva Chad Johnson had hand in NFL celebration rule change

By Alex Butler  |  May 26, 2017 at 12:55 PM
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May 26 (UPI) -- Former Pro Bowl wide receiver Chad Johnson, with his flair for dramatic touchdown celebrations, helped Roger Goodell craft the NFL's new guidelines.

The Cincinnati Bengals legend talked to the NFL commissioner "a couple of times at length" before Goodell decided to loosen his grip on football fun.

Goodell told owners on Tuesday that group celebrations, using the ball as a prop, and going to the ground to create snow angels are once again permissible after touchdowns.

The league will also shorten overtime by five minutes.

"I had talked to Roger a couple of times at length, maybe two or three times, before the rule change came out," Johnson said Friday on the B-More Opinionated podcast. "And he asked my advice on what he could do to be able to loosen the reins on the celebration rules, but at the same time maintain the respect and integrity of the game.

"And I said, 'It's a fine line, and you have to find a way to find a balance between letting the players have fun and be themselves, without losing the integrity of the game as well.' And honestly, I told him, 'You only have to worry about who is celebrating and actually making the headlines, and that would be your top players who consistently score all the time.'"

Johnson scored 67 career touchdowns during his 11-year NFL career. During his time with the Bengals, he became a household name for his post-score antics, which included proposing to a cheerleader, wearing a fake Hall of Fame jacket, using a pylon as a putter, performing the Riverdance, giving CPR to a football, salsa dancing, pretending to be an NFL cameraman and many more.

And there was also that time he changed his last name to Ocho Cinco.

He retired following the 2011 season after being named to six Pro Bowls and two first-team All-Pro squads.

Goodell explained the reason for the change in a letter written to fans.

"Today, we are excited to tell you about another change that comes after conversations with more than 80 current and former players: We are relaxing our rules on celebrations to allow players more room to have fun after they make big plays," Goodell wrote.

"We know we have more work to do. We are grateful to the many current and retired players who engaged with us on this topic and we look forward to ongoing dialogue with them as we continue to work to improve this game we all love," he said.

Offensive demonstrations, prolonged celebrations that delay the game and celebrations targeting opponents will continue to be penalized.

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