This NFL season has been a miserable slog of rage, blame, and litigation, but there’s been one unqualified highlight: the return of coordinated touchdown celebrations. Scoring a TD in the NFL is tough damn work, and we’re all in favor of celebrations up to and including intermissions and full orchestras. Until we get there, these will do: the best celebrations of the first half of the NFL season.
1. Bench Press, Pittsburgh Steelers: For an instant when Le’Veon Bell laid down on JuJu Smith-Schuster’s back, I thought for a moment that he was going to give birth to a football. That would’ve been something for the NFL to figure out, wouldn’t it? You can’t penalize the miracle of childbirth! Anyway, Bell went with the bench-press, which means the live-birth celebration is still out there for someone to claim.
2. Sack Race, Kansas City Chiefs: Sheer stupid summer-camp joy. Travis Kelce was happier than anyone has a right to be on an NFL field.
3. Front-Row Seat, New York Jets: Robby Anderson leaped into some inexplicably empty seats at Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium, pulling off the best leap since Ezekiel Elliott hopped into a Salvation Army bucket last year.
4. Hit By Pitch, Philadelphia Eagles: Alshon Jeffrey charged the mound when Zach Ertz whipped that fastball inside, as one should.
5. NBA on NBC, Atlanta Falcons: DeVonta Freeman’s three-pointer was an inspired bit of celebration; an NBC producer’s decision to throw the old “NBA on NBC” theme over the replay was genius.
6. Hide & Seek, Pittsburgh Steelers: Pittsburgh has, across the board, the best celebrations so far, and Smith-Schuster playing hide-and-seek is a powerful entry.
7. JuJu’s Bike Chain, Pittsburgh Steelers: And here’s Smith-Schuster yet again, this time playing up the time he lost his bike by chaining up the team’s sideline exercise bike.
8. Duck Duck Gray Duck, Minnesota Vikings: Kyle Rudolph led the charge here in what had to be one of the largest combined efforts of the season, and one of the best.
9. Home Run, Philadelphia Eagles: Torrey Smith sent one deep into the upper deck, so to speak, and immediately got signed by the Phillies as well as the Eagles.
10. Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots, Detroit Lions: Marvin Jones Jr. and Eric Ebron squared off in a re-creation of the classic childhood game Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em. Knock his block off!
So that’s your bar for the rest of the season, NFL players. By December, we expect your celebrations to have preview trailers and downloadable soundtracks. Make it happen!
Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports and the author of EARNHARDT NATION, on sale now at Amazon or wherever books are sold. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.