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From the moment it was revealed in August that the NFL instructed officials to strictly enforce taunting penalties, people hated it. When we got our first taste of how this call would be imposed during the preseason, people hated it even more. It only took until Week 2 of the 2021 campaign for the taunting flag to rear its ugly head in a game that mattered. 

During the fourth quarter of a highly competitive game against the Tennessee Titans, Seattle Seahawks’ cornerback DJ Reed celebrated a huge pass breakup on a pass intended for A.J. Brown by jawing a bit in his direction. The interaction was flagged for taunting, giving the Titans an extra 15 yards, and an automatic first down. That was just one of many taunting calls that occurred on Sunday.

Last month, New York Giants co-owner and member of the NFL’s Competition Committee, John Mara, explained why the league was cracking down on players taunting one another. 

“It’s just a question of whether you can have rules that can be enforced and without taking the fun out of the game too, but nobody wants to see a player taunting another player,” Mara said. “I know, I certainly don’t. I think the rest of the members of the Competition Committee feel the same way, too.”

His explanation didn’t convince fans who felt like the league was trying to punish something that’s intrinsic with the sport itself. On Sunday, people in the NFL world and beyond felt justified with their stance on this issue, and took to Twitter to air out their frustrations over the latest piece of visual evidence proving how bad this rule is.