We’re going to get tired of the new emphasis on taunting penalties in a hurry.
The crackdown on taunting penalties was a story during the preseason. We all hoped that it was something that would be called a lot in August and then fade away during the regular season.
Then we got the first taunting penalty of the season on Thursday night, and it was bad. Whatever Tampa Bay Buccaneers center Ryan Jensen said to Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman Carlos Watkins probably wasn’t worth a penalty. Watkins hit Jensen in the facemask and got a penalty of his own, but because the NFL refs are cracking down on taunting, the penalties offset.
The two violations don’t seem to be on the same level.
The NFL wanted officials to be on the lookout for taunting and call it whenever they saw any sign of it. If this is what we have to look forward to with the taunting calls, it’s going to be a long season.