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Celebrate! The 6 Best Iowa Football Celebrations of the Kirk Ferentz Era

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With the news that the NFL is relaxing its celebration rules, we’re revisiting some of the best celebrations in the Kirk Ferentz era.

Purdue v Iowa
Former Hawkeye George Kittle was known for his arms-out touchdown celebration. Which other celbrations are memorable?
Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images

For some time now, the jokes have flowed about the NFL standing for the No Fun League. There was a time when the league was full of fun and entertaining touchdown celebrations. Over the years, we progressed from the football spike, to the Dion high-step into the end zone, to the dirty bird and my personal favorite, the Greatest Show on Turf’s bob and weave. Things got serious with guys like TO and Chad Johnson Ochocinco. And then came the hammer. Basically nothing has been allowed since 2006.

Earlier this week, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced a relaxation in those rules. Beginning this year, the league will allow the use of the ball as a prop (hello baby football!), group celebrations (team photo anyone?) and going to the ground following a score (oh how I’ve missed snow angels).

All that excitement had me thinking about some of the best celebrations in Iowa Football history. More specifically, I’m thinking about some great moments in the Kirk Ferentz era. Now, KF isn’t exactly known for letting players express themselves openly so Iowa celebrations aren’t exactly on par with NFL celebrations of the glory days. But that doesn’t mean there haven’t been some really fun ones in recent years.

6. Dog Pile as 7 Gets 6

This one would’ve been flagged heavily in the NFL prior to the new rules update. Group celebration. Going to the ground. Crushing Spartan dream. Yes, that would be penalized. Regardless, it was glorious.

5. Daniel Murray Goes to His Knees

So, you may be sensing a theme here. This is yet another game-winner followed by a group celebration. This time, a few thousand fans decided they should join in as well. Despite there being a second left on the clock. I have no regrets about being one of them. Penalize me.

4. Keith Duncan Takes a Dive

Speaking of game-winning field goals and fans on the field... I’ll never let my wife forget I missed this glorious moment on the turf at Kinnick to be at a wedding for a family member. I should be flagged for that. This celebration though? Classic.

3. Tate Needs a Better View

This was a defining moment in many young Hawk fans’ lives. Dolph couldn’t believe it. Podalak didn’t know where he was. Drew Tate had to rip his helmet off to see if it was real. So many flags to be thrown by overzealous NFL referees. Helmet off on the field of play. Too many men on the field. Group celebration. SEC teams losing to Big Ten teams. Nick Saban losing, period (which apparently sent him to the NFL so he wouldn’t have to see this type of celebration). Fan-effing-tastic.

2. Tevaun Smith Will Just Take a Dab

This is a rare appearance of personal spice from a player in the Kirk Ferentz era. Most of these have been group celebrations on end-of-game scores. Not for Tevaun Smith. When he broke away from the defender and into the end zone, I, like I’m sure many of you, felt like all my Hawkeye dreams were coming true. The Michigan State fans around me in Indy were as somber as I’ve seen and it looked like Iowa was on its way to an NCAA College Football Playoff appearance. Hearing Gus Johnson make the call still gives me goosebumps. The outcome wasn’t ideal, but the score and the celebration were some of the most memorable in my young Hawkeye memory.

1. A Souvenir From Kinnick North

There have been a number of pretty memorable moments in the Metrodome for Iowa fans. Long before Iowa oficially shut down the dome in 2008 with a 55-0 drubbing of the Gophers and, uh, some extracurricular activities in the bathrooms, there was this glorious celebration by Hawkeye fans in Kinnick North back in 2002. It was a 45-21 W over the Minnesota Golden Gophers and capped off an 11-1 regular season for Iowa, which came with a Big Ten Championship and a trip to the Orange Bowl. Hawkeye fans were hyped and this has to be one of the greatest celebrations I’ve ever seen. Nobody ever said we don’t know how to have a good time.

What did we miss? Are there some from pre-Kirk Ferentz? Let’s celebrate, baby!