The most controversial rule of the 2021 NFL season, taunting, once again reared its ugly head during the “Monday Night Football” matchup between the Chargers and Raiders.
This time, Las Vegas tight end Darren Waller was called for it. His crime? Spiking the ball after his 21-yard reception from Derek Carr earned his team’s first first down of the game — on the team’s fifth offensive possession.
There’s just no place in today’s game for that sort of behavior. Apparently. The penalty negated much of the yardage gained on the play, moving the Raiders from their 41 back to their 26 — a net gain of 6 yards. The Raiders ultimately punted. Las Vegas went on to lose 28-14.
The rule has been heavily criticized by players — including Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady — and fans; the issue came to a head in Week 2, with several questionable calls during the slate making headlines. Bears safety Tashaun Gipson was one of the first to be called for taunting, prompting him to say after the game, “You don’t know if you can be happy.”
Despite the widespread dislike of the rule, Giants owner John Mara said the rule received plenty of support from coaches and owners.
“That’s something we discuss every year in the competition committee, we get kind of sick and tired of the talking that does go on from time to time on the field. We try to balance the sportsmanship with allowing the players to have fun. There’s always a fine line. None of us like to see that,” Mara said.
“It’s just a question of whether you can have rules that can be enforced without taking the fun out of the game, too. Nobody wants to see a player taunting another player. I know I certainly don’t. I know the rest of the members of the competition committee feel the same, too,” he added.
Unsurprisingly, Mara’s explanation of the controversial rule has done little to placate those who dislike it. Such was the case on Monday:
Yet another horrible taunting call. Fixing a problem that didn’t exist.
— Jim Rome (@jimrome) October 5, 2021
Who exactly was he taunting?!?!?!?!
— Ross Tucker (@RossTuckerNFL) October 5, 2021
– Two franchises that moved for greed
– Home team dominated in attendance by the opposition’s fans
– A covered stadium that goes into a delay for lightning
– A bunch of random celebs in attendance
– Endless punting
– Taunting penalties
This game is the modern NFL in a nutshell.
— Schlasser (@UrinatingTree) October 5, 2021