Jags have incentive to give TD ball to refs

August, 14, 2012
8/14/12
4:20
PM ET
The Jaguars plan to visit the end zone more often this year.

But look for touchdown celebrations to be minimal.

Coach Mike Mularkey has found a way to encourage his players to hand the ball to an official after the score, rather than doing anything that could result in a celebration penalty.

Score for the Jaguars and hand the ball to an official, Mularkey donates $250 to Ronald McDonald House Charities of Jacksonville. The Jaguars Foundation matches the contribution.

“I did that in Buffalo,” Mularkey explained to local media. “It came about when they started giving excessive celebrating fifteen yard penalties. I thought, how can I make sure our guys don’t do something ridiculous and do that and create a penalty that will really hurt our football team? I just thought it’s a classy and professional way of doing things by handing the ball to the official by saying ‘Hey hang onto this. I’ll be back again’.

“I just thought that if a charity was rewarded every time they did it and now the team is going to match everything that is donated. It’s a win-win-win. Everybody wins. It looks good. The Ronald McDonald House wins, we win with no penalties. It’s interesting because the very first touchdown our mascot decided to hug Cecil Shorts and knock the ball out. So our mascot (Jaxson de Ville) donated $250 to the Ronald McDonald House. He apologized and handed over the cash (Sunday) so that’s $500 that will go towards the Ronald McDonald House. That’s really neat to see.”

When Montell Owens scored he faked a spike before handing the ball to an official.

“He did that for me” Mularkey said. “He did it purposely just to see if it would get me going. There were guys in Buffalo that couldn’t help themselves. They spiked it and came by, ‘I’m so sorry. I’ll pay the $250.’ So every touchdown, whether a player does it or we do it every touchdown there’s going to be money going to the Ronald McDonald house.”

Paul Kuharsky | email

ESPN Tennessee Titans reporter

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