- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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The final laughs may have escaped from the NFL balloon in the 1985 season when the roguish Chicago Bears of the headbanded, moon-shooting punkster Jim McMahon, the dog-barking Otis Wilson and the kitchen appliance-monikered William (Refrigerator) Perry rode roughshod through then commissioner Pete Rozelle's worst nightmares. Sooner than later, these acts were mere fond memories.
Alas, now the smile-provoking Ickey Shuffle is gone forever, as well. Despite Bengal coach Sam Wyche's promise to play tapes featuring The Best of Ickey on Riverfront Stadium's giant screen TV whenever Woods scores a touchdown, we'll probably have to be invited into the Ickster's living quarters to see the real thing.
Finks says the new crackdown, which includes a postgame no-fraternization rule, stems from two incidents last season. One was 49er safety Ronnie Lott's near-dustup with Giants quarterback Phil Simms following a Monday Night Football game in December. The other was the annual, generic macho taunting by Miami. That's the University of Miami. In the Cotton Bowl. No kidding. "The Cotton Bowl proved that if you don't take control of your game, god only knows what it leads to," Finks says.
Which makes perfect NFL (Narrow-minded Fools' Logic) sense to everybody else, too. Let's see. Because some college kids acted up while bored to bits whaling away on pitiful Texas, professional entertainment artistes such as Messrs. Givens, Rison and Thomas will be deprived of their funnin'? Not to mention that we'll be deprived of ours?
Though Buffalo's veteran sack-dancer Smith sounds as if he has given up, there is still hope.
Houston's wideout Givens, whose Electric Slide consists of some severe leg stretches, sweeps, extensions and spastic quivering, and, he says, "alone brings 5,000 to 7,000 fans to our stadium," says he will try to circumvent the rule. "The way to go around it is just do it," he says. "The NFL should spend time worrying about drugs and labor issues, not what a guy does after he scores. What I do doesn't hurt nobody."
Even Thomas, Tampa Bay's budding monster linebacker, is ready to challenge authority. "I don't want nobody turning this into no gentleman's game, no Sunday opera," he says. "People come to our games with their shirts off and their faces painted to see some——! The Buc Jump is a party dance. It's from Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Old people can do it, little kids, even you can do it. I'm shuffling like on hot coals and stepping real fast. It's beautiful."
So there is new rebel blood in the old game after all, none flowing thicker than in the state of Florida. In Miami, Rule 12, Article 14c may be in for some further tests by the Dolphins' rookie receiver Randal Hill. This is the same controversial fellow who led the Miami Hurricanes in woofing, tweeting and celebrating last year, culminating in his finishing off a touchdown catch in the Cotton Bowl by galloping into the tunnel, where the refs couldn't flag his antics. In the first Dolphin minicamp, Hill performed a Nestea Plunge after one catch, then drew and fired a couple of pretend six-shooters after another. Later he pledged to quiet down. That was before Hill announced he was getting his name legally changed to Randal Thrill Hill.
Hey, White Shoes and Butch: We miss you, you knuckleheaded Showtime Johnsons. But just get a load of who's coming. And be still, thy hearts.