The 10 Greatest NFL End Zone Celebrations Of All-Time

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.

ickey-woods-end-zone-celebrations

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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…)

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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.



About Jerod Morris

I love words. I write for Copyblogger and founded MSF, The Assembly Call, & Primility. I practice yoga, eat well, & strive for balance. I love life. Namaste. Say hi on Twitter, Facebook, & G+.

Comments

  1. drewlange says:

    Randy Moss #1, Deion #2

    Icky Shuffle is overrated

  2. keithmullett says:

    No Dirty Bird?

    I couldn't stand Merton Hanks when he played, but when I watch that herky-jerky move now I love it.

    • I thought about the Dirty Bird, and I suppose there is a very good argument that it deserves mention before David Nelson's, but I personally was never a huge fan of it. However, it was quite famous and well-known. I'll grant that this one has a great argument for inclusion. We'll call it #11.

  3. Howard Cosell says:

    Where's Elmo Wright?

  4. Walks-In-Storms says:

    Makes you think (unless you're as immature as they are) you're watching half-witted children, actually. It's a prime reason I don't bother to watch pro footall anymore. Watching the incredibly bad sportsmanship (have we a new, effeminate, definition of that word, too?) of these mental and emotional midgetsis disgusting. "A nation (or sport) that dwarfs its men, in order that they may be more docile instruments (or prostitutes) in its hand even for beneficial (profit) purposes, will find that with small men (like those who make clowns of themselves after success in a child's game) no great thing can really be accomplished, and that the perfection of the machiner to which it has sacrificed everything (including example to youth and one's fellow man), will avail it nothing for want of the vital power which in order that the machine might work more smoothly (profitably), it has preferred to banish." That's a quote from J.S. Mill, with my parenthetical notations. What a whorehouse pro football is!

  5. No Dirty Bird, then this is a sham! You have a guy giving the ball to his girlfriend, but no BJ Raji putting on the belt after his TD, and no Dirty Bird? Shame on you.

    • As I commented to Keith, I'll accept angry comments about no Dirty Bird. It has a very strong case. But this is where the personal bias part entered in. I just never liked the Dirty Bird all that much, and I was a huge fan of Nelson…but I can see where reasonable minds disagree.

  6. Dan Railey says:

    I would say the Billy White Shoes Johnson has and always will have the best touchdown / endzone dance.

  7. If you score a touchdown you should 1) Spike the ball, 2) High-five a teammate, and 3) GET OFF THE FIELD!

  8. BuffaloBen says:

    Lambeau Leap!

  9. Im a Vikings fan and even I think Aaron Rodgers’ title belt celebration is one of the most epic touchdown celebrations of all time.

  10. I love the Barry Sanders celebration. People should bring it back

  11. labeau leap?

  12. I LOVED the time Joe Horn from the New Orleans Saints (WHO DAT BABY) got the phone from underneath the pole (that he planted) and asked…CAN YA HEAR ME NOW. PRICELESS!

  13. No mention of the Fun Bunch??? THAT was a classic end zone celebration!

  14. C’mon,! No love for the Fun Bunch??? Now THAT was a classic end zone celebration!

  15. Deion at #2, Drew? You're out of your mind…..especially since we used to do that as junior pro kids back in the early 80s, long before Deion was doing it. It's an old move.

    The Merton Hanks move, White Shoes, and the Shuffle are all unique to the players who do them…..sweeeeeet

  16. FunkInPalmHarbor says:

    Same thing under this headline, no story, just bio and comment box.

  17. KHLthe2nd says:

    Left out Butch Johnson and the California Quake! :P

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  19. cenobiteshan says:

    Oh, come ON! The "Icky Shuffle" was the STUPIDIST T.D celebration of all time. He looked like a little girl skipping sideways being short-circuited by a brain seizure in mid-skip!

  20. merton hanks was the best- i think he had a rubber neck—-fabulous moves-and a great young man also—–Go MERTON

  21. steve campbell says:

    With no mention of the Super Bowl XVII Champion Washington Redskins and their group high-five touchdown celebrations that led to the
    league-wide ban of “excessive celebration”????

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