ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- It started with a conversation during warm-ups, a realization that for the first time in their professional careers they could be a bit more creative when they reached the end zone. They could use teamwork. They could express themselves. They could have fun.
So the conversation between Detroit Lions receivers Golden Tate, Marvin Jones and TJ Jones happened fast. TJ Jones asked Tate and Marvin Jones if they wanted to do something together if one of them scored. After a few seconds, they agreed. Doing the Double Dutch was then suggested.
So when Marvin Jones scored against the New York Jets in the first half Saturday night, they quickly celebrated as a team and then went to work.
"I was like, ‘OK, I can definitely do that,'" Marvin Jones said. “I did that growing up. So we said whoever scores gets to jump and then we’ll start slow and go fast. Literally, it was a 30-second conversation. And it happened.”
The Lions' Double Dutch was the first team-based celebration to catch significant attention this NFL preseason. It could be the start of a new trend in Detroit and other cities around the league. The NFL -- which used to be called the No Fun League -- announced earlier this year that it has relaxed its celebration rules. Instead of quick dances -- remember Joseph Fauria and "Bye, bye, bye" being a huge thing -- there can be more choreography and excitement.
This may have been Marvin Jones' first NFL celebration, but he said he wouldn’t rule out doing it again.
And he’s not the only one.
“It was something quick, and we are just trying to have fun out there,” Tate said. “Having fun. Football’s fun. We’re entertainers. We want to give people what they want at times, but stay within the rules. Very, very happy that the NFL rules have changed with cleats and the celebrations.
“I think it’ll draw more fans as long as we do it the right way, so I’m excited.”
Under the new rules, spontaneous displays of emotion are allowed. So are group celebrations -- see the Double Dutch. Going to the ground (think snow angels or some breakdancing) is perfectly acceptable. So is using the ball as a prop -- or using the ball as a hot potato between teammates.
Celebrations that are offensive or violent are still no-nos, so Randy Moss' celebratory mock mooning in Green Bay would probably be out. So, too, are throat-slashing gestures, the bow-and-arrow celebration and anything mimicking a gun. And the Hingle McCringleberry made famous by the "Key and Peele" comedy show is not allowed because sexually suggestive celebrations are still banned.
But the days of Terrell Owens and Chad Johnson, of Joe Horn and Deion Sanders, are making a comeback. The majority of players in NFL locker rooms now were kids when those guys were in their prime, so today's players remember the dancing and the celebrating. Now they can do it to catch the eye of a younger generation.
“I used to love watching Prime Time [Sanders] and his celebration. I used to love watching T.O. … I loved watching his showmanship,” Tate said. “A lot of people think it’s being arrogant and cocky. I think it’s just having passion for what you’re doing. In this game, we are, believe it or not, however you want to think of it, we are entertainers.
“And that’s, I think, the celebrations … when T.O. was playing, I think that’s why so many people wanted to watch this game. Not because they didn’t even understand the game but because they wanted to see the celebrations and what were these guys going to do when they made a play. That’s the fun thing about it, and I love that the NFL is getting back to that -- to letting guys have fun, letting guys brand themselves, within the rules, of course.”
Not every Lions player will celebrate when he scores. Rookie receiver Kenny Golladay and running back Ameer Abdullah said they might, but it would be spontaneous if they did. Tight end Cole Wick, who has yet to score an NFL touchdown, said he’s been thinking about it but has no idea what he’d do.
“I think it gives us a little more individuality,” Wick said. “Allows guys to be themselves more, have a little more fun out there, loosen up. So I think it’s good, personally.”
So what’s next for the Lions' wide receiver trio? Tough to say.
Marvin Jones said he doesn’t know if he’ll celebrate after every score this season. Tate said he is contemplating creating a signature celebration, but he doesn't have a locked-down idea yet. And they don’t want celebratory pressure, either. Saturday's moment against the Jets was a spur-of-the-day, semi-spontaneous creation.
They just want it to be fun.
“We don’t want to put the pressure on ourselves every time we step on the field, every time we score, we need all eyes on us because of what celebration we’re going to do,” Tate said. “I think we’re just kind of caught up in the moment of having our first home game of the season. We felt like we were going to score a passing touchdown, and if it happened to one of us, we just had, like, a very simple, little, easy celebration that would be fun.
“We didn’t know it would catch so much traction and make it to NFL Instagram and be tweeted and retweeted. But hopefully it was a positive response and just a fun celebration.”