It's a Celebration: Best NFL Touchdown Rituals
Busting a fresh and clever post-touchdown pose has become a standard part of the scoring experience for many NFL receivers and running backs, and even some of the more end-zone-friendly defensive backs.
And while the TV lens through which at-home viewers enjoy the game is happy to zoom in on the showboating individual before cutting to the latest light beer or deodorant commercial, in the aftermath of big plays couch potatoes and armchair quarterback are left to imagine what other revelry the home team's success has kicked off throughout the crowd.
Sure, it's fun for small-screen viewers to watch for what Joe Horn will pull out of the goal post next, or T.O. out of his sock, or Ocho Cinco out of his well you get the picture.
But fans that fill stadiums on game day enjoy so much more than the dog-and-pony shows that take place in the end zone during those special moments when things are going right for their team.
Indeed, they share in the tribal exuberance of celebrating en masse with their fellow fans. And over the years nearly every fan base has developed its own unique celebratory tradition to suit the personality of its team and the eccentricities of its stadium.
Some fans have a special song they sing, chant they recite or rabble rouser they raise upon their shoulders. Others have their moments of exquisite joy punctuated by routines involving interaction with the players, house sound system or stadium special effects. While they're all special, here are ten of the more unique touchdown celebrations and rally cries (ranked in no particular order):
1. The Salute by the End Zone Militia
New England Patriots
Whenever the Patriots score, the 20 or so men in Revolutionary War garb behind the end zones fire a salute into the air with flintlock muskets. As the blank rounds reverberate and black smoke wafts into the air, the crowd goes wild.
The End Zone Militia is a nod to the original New England "patriots" of the 1770s. At a moment's notice, these everyday citizens would grab their muskets and cartridges and head off to fight the Brits wearing whatever clothes they had on, often including hats like the one worn by the character depicted in the old Patriots logo.
"We have to be considered part of the Patriots' home-field advantage," said End Zone Militia captain Geoff Campbell. "The players know we're there, and the fans, the cheerleaders and so does the opposition.
"One of the best things that happens after a Patriots score is the smoke from the muskets drifting across the visitor's bench. Powder smoke tends to be smelly. Think rotten eggs."
2. The J-E-T-S Chant led by Fireman Ed
New York Jets
A season ticket holder since 1979 and New York City firefighter since 1987, Fireman Ed is as authentic as they come, sitting in Section 133, wearing his No. 42 Bruce Harper jersey and leading a cheer that resonates in a way that few others across the NFL do.
3. The Singing of "Fly Eagles Fly"
Lincoln Financial Field
In keeping with a tradition that not surprisingly survived the Eagles' move from The Vet to The Link, fans break into "Fly Eagles Fly" whenever the home team puts points on the board. Simple and sweet, the song is set to the music of a marching band, recalling the nostalgia and charm of the better college football ballads.
"(Eagles fans) are tough, deeply loyal and love tradition," said Philly Cuzz, who performs a cover rendition of "Fly Eagles Fly" on his CD "Football Fever."
"A few elitists in the media have mocked 'Fly Eagles Fly' as being corny, calling for a bling, hip-hop update. That's New York. That's San Francisco. That's not Philadelphia. 'Fly Eagles Fly' is old-school football the way we like it."
"Fly Eagles Fly"
Fly Eagles fly, on the road to victory.
Fight Eagles fight, score a touchdown, 1-2-3.
Hit 'em low,
Hit 'em high,
And we'll watch our Eagles fly.
Fly Eagles fly, on the road to victory.
4. The "We're Gonna Beat the Hell Out of You
Kansas City Chiefs
After Chiefs touchdowns, the red-and-white fanatics in the stands utter this rambunctious recantation while pointing in the direction of the visiting team and any unfortunate out-of-towners that have dared to wear the visitors' colors to the game.
For years the chant began after the third "Hey" in Gary Glitter's "Rock and Roll, Part II," once a staple at many NFL stadiums. (The league banned all things Glitter from its facilities in 2006, following the British rocker's conviction on sexual abuse charges in Vietnam.)
Now the Chiefs play a cover rendition of the song by a band known as Tube Tops 2000. And the chant lives on.
5. The Sounding of the Vikings Horn
Nothing puts a charge into fans of the Purple People Eaters quite like the two-note clarion that blasts through the Metrodome speakers when the Vikings are moving the ball.
While some rooters merely take this as an invitation to make noise of any kind at the home team's behest, others answer back with horns of their own that they sneak through the stadium turnstiles even if their instruments of mass percussion look nothing like the animal horns affixed to the helmet of the grizzly, old Viking depicted in the Minnesota logo.
"The sound of the Vikings Horn is a powerful emotional device," said Ray Crump, owner of Dome Souvenirs Plus, located adjacent to the Metrodome and where fans can buy collapsible plastic trumpets that when blown properly will mimic the stadium horn.
"Whenever the sound is heard people get excited or know something important has just happened, which raises the energy level of the stadium."
But there's more than just horn blowing when it comes to celebrating good times in the Land of Ten Thousand Lakes. After the Vikings reward the Metrodome throng with a plunge into the end zone and the horns blow, fans sing "Skol Vikings" (Scandinavian for "salute" or "toast"), as the team's cheerleaders spell out V-I-K-I-N-G-S with giant flags.
Skol Vikings! Let's win this game.
Skol Vikings! Honor your name.
Go get that first down,
Then get a touchdown.
Rock 'em, sock 'em, fight, fight, fight, fight
Go Vikings, run out the score; you'll hear us yell for more!
Skol Vikings, let's go!
NEXT PAGE (for touchdown celebrations Nos. 6-10)
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