The NFL has cracked down on excessive celebration penalties in recent years. But one candy company — and a former NFL superstar — are encouraging players to go wild.
Butterfinger is offering to pay up to $50,000 worth of fines for any NFL player who is penalized for excessive celebration during the AFC Championship game, NFC Championship game or Super Bowl 50.
The offer is part of Butterfinger’s new “Bolder than Bold” Super Bowl campaign, in which Terrell Owens -- who himself drew the ire of the NFL for his unique touchdown celebrations -- and comedian Billy Eichner walked around Manhattan asking pedestrians to dance in exchange for a Butterfinger.
Of course, Owens is widely known for some of his own crazy celebrations. He once pulled a Sharpie out of his sock after scoring a touchdown, then autographed the ball and gave it to a fan. He once borrowed pom-poms and pretended to bea 49ers cheerleader. He once ate popcorn from fans when he was with the Cowboys. And speaking of the Cowboys, he twice ran to midfield after scoring against Dallas on their home field and stood on the star logo with his arms outstretched.
There may be questions whether or not the offer actually is allowed under NFL rules, however. Fox Sports' Alex Marvez on Twitter pointed out an instance when Eagles tight end Brent Celek recreated a pose made famous by Captain Morgan rum, which depicts a pirate with his hands on his hips and his right leg raised. It turned out that the pose was part of an ambush marketing technique by Captain Morgan, which offered to donate money to charity every time a player was caught on camera doing that pose ($10,000 for a regular-season game, $25,000 in the playoffs and $100,000 in the Super Bowl, according to Fox Sports). The NFL reportedly told Captain Morgan that the pose would not be tolerated during a game.
ESPN's Darren Rovell then noted on Twitter an instance where Vitaminwater paid for then-Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher’s $100,000 fine for wearing one of their hats during Super Bowl XLI Media Day.
When asked whether or not a company can pay for a player’s fine, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said on Twitter that fines for rules violations must be paid by the player and that discipline escalates with aggravating factors and for repeat offenders. It remains unclear whether the NFL allows a company to reimburse a player for a fine after the player already has paid it.