I don't think I ever could have anticipated writing a headline like that. ESPN's Sal Paolantonio was apparently told be NFL VP of Officiating Dean Blandino that the Seattle Seahawks will be penalized 15 yards if Marshawn Lynch makes an obscene gesture in the Super Bowl.
There have been a couple instances where Lynch has grabbed his crotch after scoring a touchdown. He was fined $11,000 in December for a crotch grab, and was fined $20,000 for another such gesture in the NFC Championship Game. The threat of penalty yards seems like just another example of the NFL getting pissed that people don't "respect the shield" and they will do whatever they have to in order to impose their will on players.
I am not at all surprised the league is doing this. While some will view this as trying to "clean up the game" and looking out for the fans, I am not inclined to buy that. The NFL has shown repeatedly that it wants to make sure the players know who is in charge. We've seen the league impose penalties and fines for a variety of post-touchdown celebrations, and this is just one more instance. Whether it be a group celebration, a crotch grab, or anything else, I view this as just about the power of the shield.
It's one more instance where I just find it ridiculous how a bunch of stuffy old dudes get huffy over the stupidest stuff, while working hard to ignore actual problems (see Rice, Ray). They want to distract us from the important things by trying to crack down on stupid crap. A perfect example of this is another Seahawks fine, this time for Chris Matthews. The wide receiver was fined for an obscene gesture, and yet if you watch the GIF closely, he is shaking Marshawn Lynch's hand. And because of that, Matthews was fined $11,025.
Even though none of us are Seahawks fines, things like this just bug me. The NFL is trying to impose its will, even in situations like with Matthews where it is not even legit. This kind of thing will happen to other teams, including the 49ers, so this is not just a chance to dump on the Seahawks. It's the NFL continuing to be stupid.