A couple weeks back, Trevor Stewart laid out four of his all-time favorite end zone celebrations. His list included Joe Horn calling his pops, Aaron Rodgers’ championship belt, and Randy Moss’ disgusting act.
Since Trevor’s post, end zone celebrations – and the inevitable debates about them – have re-entered the general NFL discourse thanks to Stevie Johnson mocking Plaxico Burress after a touchdown last Sunday. That led to Bob Costas decrying our eroding culture in his halftime SNF monologue.
Though Costas may find the end zone expressions of Stevie J and his ilk to be icky, I disagree.
To me, creative end zone celebrations are more Ickey* than icky, and – when well done – add personality and panache to a game that too often feels over-exposed, over-regulated, and under-enjoyed by players more worried about fines and suspensions than making plays and entertaining fans.
* – If you don’t get this reference, keep shufflin’ on down this post. Have I got a treat for you…
So this post is a toast.
It’s a toast to the players who have made our NFL Sundays more enjoyable and entertaining through their charisma and creativity; and it’s a toast to you, the reader, and the many additional suggestions you made to Trevor’s article. Over 50,000 of you viewed that page, with many of you taking to the comment section to provide your own thoughts on the greatest end zone celebrations in NFL history.
In this post, I have taken your suggestions, mixed it why my own personal end zone dance biases, and come up with the definitive list of the 10 greatest end zone celebrations…ever.
10. Randy Moss’ “Disgusting Act”
Okay, so the celebration itself really isn’t all that creative. Or classy. But I never tire of hearing Joe Buck’s get off my lawn reaction to Randy Moss’ faux mooning of the Green Bay Packers crowd.
Lighten up Joe.
9. Terrell Owens Gets His Popcorn Ready
This celebration was extremely quick and involved no dancing, but – and it’s a big but – it did help turn “getcha popcorn ready” into a universal phrase for expect excitement.
I often find myself using this phrase completely out of a football context, and the polarizing (and underrated) T.O. is a big reason why.
8. Chad Ochocinco Proposes
Who else can follow T.O. but his BFF Ocho?
While T.O. was getting his popcorn ready, Ochocinco was getting down on his knee.
In what I’ve always felt was a very creative and fun celebration, Ocho (or was it Johnson then?) dropped to one knee and “proposed” to a Bengals cheerleader after scoring a touchdown.
My favorite part is her reaction, clearly thrilled to be in on the celebration.
And speaking of dudes making nice with cheerleaders…
7. David Nelson Makes ‘Em Say Awwwwwww
Some of you are going to disagree with the placement of David Nelson’s recent TD celebration on this list, but I’m fully prepared to defend it.
If you had a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader as a girlfriend, don’t you think dealing with a little bit of ribbing from your teammates and fans would be worth making her feel special? Rhetorical question.
I’ll grant you that perhaps there is something inappropriate about a Bills player making nice with a Cowboys cheerleader during a game…but I say whatever. I’m giving Nelson props here. Surely his woman appreciated this grand gesture, and I’m sure he was well rewarded for it. Not one dude reading this wouldn’t take that tradeoff.
6. Kelley Washington’s “The Squirrel”
Even though Chad Johnson/Ochocinco was more well-known for his end zone antics, it was teammate Kelley Washington who actually had the best dance; and he gets extra props for building brand recognition by using the same dance over and over.
Enjoy “The Squirrel.”
5. Merton Hanks’ Full Body Spasm
I’m not really sure what to say about…whatever it was Merton Hanks used to do when he made a big play; but it sure was memorable, and it’s the first thing you think of what someone says “Merton Hanks.”
So it was a sure thing to make this list.
4. Alfonso Smith’s Carlton Dance
I, like many of you, loved The Fresh Prince; and few moments of the show remain more memorable than Alfonso Ribeiro’s “Carlton Dance” to the tune of Tom Jones’ classic ode to things that are usual (or not unusual, as the case may be.)
When you share the same first name as the dance’s creator, and you bust it out after a pick-6, you win my approval. Easily.
3. Deion Sanders’ High Step
You can’t have a list of the best end zone celebrations ever and omit the great Deion Sanders, even if Deion’s most famous dancing – his high step – came before he got into the end zone.
My apologies in advance for the DMX soundtrack (WHAT!?) but just turn down the volume. Enjoy Deion…being Deion.
2. Billy “White Shoes” Johnson’s Funky Chicken
Many people will tell you this is the best end zone celebration of all-time. Maybe they’re right. But this is my list, and it only comes in at #2.
Still, it doesn’t diminish the historical impact of Billy “White Shoes”. He was one of the first true showmen in NFL history, and you can thank him for paving the way for all of the other celebrations on this list.
1. The Ickey Shuffle
For me, this one is and will always be the best.
I’m sure it has something to do with timing. The height of the Ickey Shuffle coincided with my early years as a football fan, so I’ve always associated end zone celebrations with Elbert “Ickey” Woods.
Here is the greatness:
The Ickey Shuffle was so famous that it even infiltrated pop culture! (Though I have to admit, it’s just not the same when Neil Patrick Harris does it…)
So there you have it sports fans. There are my top 10 end zone celebrations of all-time.
I’m sure that you agree with some, disagree with others, and have your own that you think should be added to the list. Well, when Al Gore created the Internet, that’s why he included comment sections.
Your plaudits, gripes, and additional suggestions are welcomed below.