Just after Leonard Fournette crossed the end zone on a 5-yard touchdown run last Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts, he started waving his right hand toward his teammates.
It was a signal for the end zone celebration to start.
Fournette stood directly in front of the goal post like he was at the free throw line and Cam Robinson, Brandon Linder, Jermey Parnell, Keelan Cole and Marqise Lee stood in the imaginary lane in the end zone to box out for a potential rebound.
But Fournette didn’t miss.
In perfect form, he flicked his wrist, like Golden State’s star Stephen Curry does during NBA games, to shoot a free throw with a football over the goal post’s crossbar.
The crowd at EverBank Field erupted, and Linder, Robinson and Parnell showed their box out moves before raising their hands in celebration.
The Jaguars’ end zone celebration was among many this season from NFL teams that have come up with creative presentations as a result of the league’s decision in May to relax its celebration rules.
Fournette and his Jaguars teammates said they didn’t rehearse their free throw celebration, but talked about it throughout last week.
“We always talk stuff about basketball in the locker room and shooting stuff in garbage cans,” Cole said. “So it was just something fun that we decided to do.That was all on Leonard. We did it on the fly. We see it as another addition to the entertainment part of the game.”
Frenette said more end zone celebrations are forthcoming, but he declined to divulge details on what they might have in mind on Sunday against Seattle at EverBank Field and for upcoming games against the Texans, 49ers and Titans.
“We have a ton of celebrations,” Fournette said. “We just have to get in the end zone more to celebrate it.”
Coach Doug Marrone says he’s fine with his players’ end zone celebrations.
However, he said working on celebrations during practice time is not permitted.
“I’m trying to get them off the field and get them to the next play,” Marrone said. “I’m trying to keep the tempo and all the stuff like that. I don’t get involved with that. It’s a league rule, they can do it. They can do it on their time, but not on our practice time.’’
In a conference call on Wednesday, Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll says he enjoys watching touchdown celebrations by players across the league.
“It’s been a great change,” Carroll said. “It’s been fun for the players, it’s been good for the fans and I don’t think it’s done anything but make it more fun for everybody that’s watching.”
Jaguars players say they discuss possible celebrations and also watch other teams to get ideas.
Asked if he would choreograph an end zone celebration, quarterback Blake Bortles joked that the job would go to offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, the team dance coach.
“The free throw one was never practiced, but it was talked about for a couple weeks,” Bortles said. “It kind of depends on who scores because they initiate it. So when Leonard ran that ball in, he got everybody over there and said, ‘Let’s do it,’ so they were there ready to go because we had talked about it. It was fun to watch.”
Some of the most creative celebrations this season include Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman’s celebration with offensive guard Andy Levitre, who circled his arms as a hoop while Freeman shot a free throw during their Week 2 game against Green Bay after scoring on a 1-yard run.
In Week 9, the Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce celebrated his touchdown catch against the Cowboys by doing a potato-sack race in the end zone with two of his teammates.
“Teams are very creative,” Jaguars offensive guard A.J. Cann said. “You see stuff every week that will catch your eye. I think Thanksgiving dinner celebration that the Vikings did was clever. I think somebody did a leap frog, too. The Eagles have done some cool stuff.”
After Philadelphia Eagles receiver Alshon Jeffery caught a touchdown against the Chicago Bears during Week 12, he used 10 of his offensive teammates to do a bowling celebration in the end zone.
“Right now, the Philadelphia Eagles are killing it,” Jaguars punt returner Jaydon Mickens said. “I still think the Jaguars are No. 1 with Leonard’s free throw, but we’re going to put a little more together.”
Mickens said if he scores, he already knows his celebration dance.
“I want to pull out `Nick Nack Patty Whack’ – it’s called the Peter Piper. It’s a dance out of Baton Rouge. To express yourself, especially during the touchdown celebrations, it brings everything you want out of the game.”