Sports

The Joyous and Wholesome NFL Trend of Celebratory Group Photos Is Getting a Little Stale

ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 05:  The Dallas Cowboys defensive line poses for a photo in the end zone after a fumble recovery against the Tennessee Titans in the first quarter of a football game at AT&T Stadium on November 5, 2018 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Say “cheese” (everybody’s doing it).
Tom Pennington/Getty Images

After Alec Ogletree intercepted a bumbled pass from Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick on Sunday, the New York Giants linebacker dropped to his knee for a subdued touchdown celebration. He wasn’t alone for long, however. His teammates swarmed him as he pointed to the sky, and, without missing a beat, Ogletree joined them in posing for the cameras behind the end zone.

It was the second group photo of the game for the Giants defense. In the first half, they ran into their own end zone and mugged for the cameras to celebrate an interception from safety Michael Thomas.

In one afternoon, the New York Giants snapped more family photos than my actual family has taken in decades. They were not alone. The Houston Texans cheesed out after a 101-yard pick-6 against Washington, and the resulting shot is mantle-worthy.

The NFL relaxed its stance on group celebrations in 2017, and teams have taken advantage of this relative freedom to choreograph synchronized dances, elaborate pantomimes, and other routines that occasionally defy description. As Sunday proves, the most popular of all these celebrations has been the team photo pose. It’s simple, joyous, and a great way for NFL players to avoid crowded photo studios when it comes time to make holiday cards.

New Orleans Saints players take credit for inventing the celebration last season (in Week 6 against the Lions), and some of them even roasted the Pittsburgh Steelers for doing a version of it last November.

NFL teams are shameless copycats, so the Saints’ intellectual property didn’t stand a chance. Sadly, this repetition has made the celebration old hat. How many class pictures does this imaginary yearbook need? It’s time to move on, and here are some suggestions for new, wholesome group celebrations teams can try.

-The can-can. If there’s one thing NFL fans love more than football, it’s a throwback to the glory days of French cabaret.

-Conga line. Thousands of cruise ship activity directors can’t be wrong. Bonus points for accuracy if the players get norovirus.

-Handshake line. According to hockey fans, this is more entertaining than one million Super Bowls combined.

-Group painting. Like a group photo, but you need an easel and a few hours to do it. Be advised: closed-minded referees will flag any attempts at abstract impressionism.

-A performance of Antigone (R. C. Jebb translation). An NFL team features 11 players on the field at one time. Antigone, Sophocles’ classic play about fidelity and personal honor, has nine full roles plus The Chorus. It’s a perfect fit, though it should be decided during mid-week practices who plays Antigone before going live on Sunday. The whole thing is ruined if you mess up that casting.