Friday, December 31, 2010


The inaugural Pinstripe Bowl on Dec. 30th, 2010 was a huge success...except for one ugly mark.

The Kansas State Wildcats scored a touchdown to pull within two points of the Syracuse Orange, but the game was put in the officials' hands when Adrian Hilburn was flagged for merely saluting the crowd. As a result, the 15-yard penalty moved Kansas State back as they could not get the two-point conversion, losing 38-36.

The excessive celebration rule has to be one of the dumbest rules in sports because referees are forced to make a call regardless of time and exuberance.

The NCAA states in Rule 9-2, Article 1(a)(1)(d) that excessive celebration is "Any delayed, excessive, prolonged or choreographed act by which a player (or players) attempts to focus attention upon himself (or themselves)".

In the aftermath, numerous broadcasters posed the question that if Hilburn was playing for Army, Navy, or Air Force, would he be flagged? I highly doubt that he would, and even in this case, this was not "delayed", "prolonged", "choreographed", and it sure was not "excessive".

During the Music City Bowl, Tyler Bray made gestures to the crowd and the Tar Heels' bench on many occasions. The result: no flags either time.

I'm not saying that the rule should repealed, because there are some things you should not be able to do on the field (ex. the Georgia Bulldogs team celebrating in mass after a touchdown). However, there are some things that are innocent or just a release of tension during a pressure-packed point during a game.

Can you believe that a salute would open the door to controversy?

While creative and funny, this clearly defines excessive celebration.

(AP Photo/Phil Coale)