10 NFL End Zone Celebrations: Step-by-Step Touchdown Dance Instructions

by |September 10, 2015
Categories: Resource, Sports


Even if you're not a fan of American football, you've got to love the showmanship. Few other sports feature celebratory dances like the NFL. Nobody is doing The Funky Chicken after a successfull outfield catch in baseball. You won't see a tennis player performing a signature shuffle after a powerful service ace. The sport in which you will find a wide variety of dances is football, especially after a touchdown! A touchdown is a big deal. It's six whole points. It helps your team win, so it makes sense that so many players who score said touchdown want to celebrate.

These celebrations are the thing of legend in the world of football, featuring everything from creative, choreographed movements, to spontaneous outbursts, to simple ball spikes and slams. We've compiled a list of our top 10 favorite NFL endzone celebrations in illustrated form. We had such a tough time ranking them, since they are all amazing in their own, special ways, that we put them in chronological order. We've even included step-by-step instructions on how to perform the dances yourself. Bust out the full length mirror and try these out in your living room, den, football stadium, bedroom, wherever!



1. The Funky Chicken (Billy "White Shoes" Johnson)


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To get noticed in the NFL, sometimes you need to have a gimmick. Billy Johnson was a slippery, 5'9" punt returner. Not the largest man on the field, Billy made a name for himself (literally) with his white, low cut cleats. But beyond the white shoes, Johnson was known for his celebrations, particularly, the Funky Chicken. A popular novelty song and dance by Rufus Thomas in 1970, "Do the Funky Chicken," clearly inspired Johnson's silly, knee-knocking end zone celebration.



2. The Ickey Shuffle (Elbert "Ickey" Woods)


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Touchdown celebrations lived and died with the Ickey Shuffle. In the late 80s and early 90s the end zone was the Wild West, where almost anything was allowed. Then along came Elbert "Ickey" Woods and his mesmerizing shuffle dance. Three hops to the left, three to the right, three hops back, a spike and finger twirl, were all it took for the NFL, like an out-of-touch parent, to step in and clamp down. "Excessive Celebration" was now cause for penalty, and the death knell for fun lovers everywhere.



3. The Prime Time High Step (Deion Sanders)


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The swagger of modern football can, debatably, be traced back to one man, Deion Sanders. Sure, players had high-stepped into the end zone before, but never with as much finesse as Deion. It didn't stop there either - once in the end zone, Deion's feet kept dancing. Mimicked, but rarely perfected, few can truly pull of the Prime Time dance like Deion. It's more than just high-stepping, it's about attitude. A one-man marketing machine, Deion parlayed his high-stepping dance and Prime Time persona into a lucrative sponsorship, analyst, and music career.



4. The Dirty Bird (Jamal Anderson)


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There are rare moments when a dance becomes so popular, so reviled, and so loved all at once, that it transcends the sport and takes on a life of its own. That is what happened with the Dirty Bird, a dance so simple and above all, fun, that there was no way to contain it to the end zone. Originally created as a solo dance by running back Jamal Anderson of the Atlanta Falcons, the greatest in-game displays of the Dirty Bird were when teammates in the vicinity joined in, making for a joyous, flapping flock of 200+ pound footballers.



5. The Pom-Pom Dance (Terrell Owens)


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Like choosing a favorite child, it's near impossible to narrow Terrell Owens' storied history of touchdown celebrations to just one. Say what you want about Owens' braggart style, the man knows how to put on a show. More theater than celebration, Owens' best known celebrations are carefully orchestrated scenes that are meant less to wow, and more to shock. One of the most infamous is his Pom-Pom Dance. After a 45 yard touchdown against the Packers, T.O. immediately ran to the San Francisco 49ers cheerleaders and commandeered a set of pom-poms, which he then used as the key prop in a short little jig. Simple, effective, fun, and legendary.



6. The Moss Moon (Randy Moss)


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The rivalry between the Minnesota Vikings and the Green Bay Packers is real. It has broken up friendships. It has destroyed marriages. But most importantly, it gave us the Randy Moss Moon. More of an uncouth pantomime than a dance, it seems tame by today's standards, but in 2005, people went absolutely bonkers. Op-eds were written, fines were levied, and fans on both sides became even more divided. Moss' faux-mooning was nothing more explicit than something found on a Saturday morning cartoon, but it became a talking point in the league over the overall issue of unsportsmanlike conduct.



7. The Ball Flip (Ladanian Tomlinson)


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Almost imperceptible if you're not looking for it, the Ladanian Tomlinson Ball Flip is a classic touchdown celebration that can be spun, or flipped, in a number of different ways. A clean and simple move, the beauty of Tomlinson's celebration is that it can be performed while on the ground, on your feet, or in the air. Involving nothing more than a football and the tips of your fingers, the Tomlinson Flip looks simple, but requires a bit of finesse to truly pull off. If the flip is too obvious, you are probably doing it wrong. Delicacy is key.



8. The Golf Putt (Chad Ochocinco)


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Formerly known as Chad Johnson, the man now known as Chad Ochocinco is no stranger to unique end zone celebrations. Taking a note from the histrionics of Terrell Owens, Ochocinco's pylon putt is definitely one of his more theatrical celebrations. In 2005, after a touchdown against the Baltimore Ravens, Ochocinco bolted for the corner of the end zone, put the ball on the ground and grabbed an orange pylon to use as a golf club. Not a great putt, but great entertainment.



9. The Salsa (Victor Cruz)


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No modern touchdown dance has been as well received as Victor Cruz's Salsa dance. The beauty of the Salsa dance is that it is exactly what it purports to be, and nothing more. It's a short, simple little salsa dance. What makes it even better is that it is a genuine and positive celebration with zero hostility toward the opposing team. For more reason to love the dance (like you needed any), Cruz has said it was inspired by his deceased grandmother who taught young Victor how to do the salsa, and who loved touchdown celebrations. We're crying already.



10. Gronk Spike (Rob Gronkowski)


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With a name like Gronkowski and a nickname like Gronk, the essence of your touchdown celebration is largely already chosen for you. It has to be big. It has to be dumb. And it has to be powerful. Thus, we have the Gronk Spike. Tight end big man Rob Gronkowski doesn't need flash or even substances for a great end zone celebration, he just needs his strength and his intensity, which is exactly what the Gronk Spike oozes. Take a football, slam it into the ground. Celebration complete.



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Gentry Boeckel
Gentry Boeckel Gentry is an Inbound Marketing Specialist at Shirts.com and would happily wear Star Wars tank tops to the office if it were socially acceptable. Instead, he will have to save the Star Wars gun show for the gym and his backyard neighbors. Besides his Rebel Alliance attire, his all-time favorite t-shirt is probably the bright green, vintage Mars Attacks! tee that says “WE COME IN PEACE.” Yeah, right, we all saw what you did to the disembodied heads of Pierce Brosnan and Sarah Jessica Parker, aliens.