CLOSE

The Quick 10: 10 Touchdown Celebrations

I told Jason English the other day that my husband may be sending him flowers (or a six-pack; I guess that's probably more likely). Because of Jason's brilliant idea to have a mental_floss Fantasy Football league, I've been willing "“ nay, I've been wanting - to watch football lately. And not just for the touchdown dances, which were previously my main reasons for enjoying the sport. But I still like a good celebration. Here are some of my favorites:

1. The Ickey Shuffle might be the most famous touchdown celebration ever; the NFL even allowed Elbert "Ickey" Woods to do it without penalty in the late "˜80s (let's see T.O. get away with that). Check out the Ickey Shuffle in this little montage of dances "“ if you don't want to wait through the whole thing, he's #4 at about 1:30.

2. The Lambeau Leap is a celebration the whole team gets into. It doesn't happen every time, but sometimes when a Packer gets a touchdown at Lambeau Field, he runs and leaps into the end zone stands. Other teams have started to adopt this celebration as well, but it started in Wisconsin. Sometimes an opposing player tries to get some love at Lambeau and more often than not gets shut down "“ that very thing happened to Viking Fred Smoot in 2007. But Chad Ochocinco managed to pull it off just a week ago by planting a couple of Bengals fans in the end zone seats ahead of time. Sneaky. Here's Donald Lee doing the Lambeau Leap last season:

3. Speaking of Ochocinco, he rivals T.O. when it comes to ridiculous (and expensive) TD celebrations. He has "proposed" to a cheerleader, he has putted the football in homage to Tiger Woods, he has whipped out pre-made signs"¦ but my favorite is when he Riverdances. You can see most of these (and lots more) in this video:

4. Steve Smith was on the same college football team (Santa Monica College) as Ochocinco, so is it any surprise that they both share a love of celebrating their hard-earned six points? Like Ochocino, he has quite a few celebrations under his belt, but I like when he turned the ball into a baby, burping it and wiping its butt.

HOWARD5. Even NCAA football has the occasional celebration, but this one is probably the most famous: the Heisman pose. In 1991, Desmond Howard was one of the frontrunners in the Heisman race and he wasn't above campaigning. When he scored a touchdown against Ohio State that year, he took a little time in the end zone to pose just like the famous trophy. It must have worked, because he was awarded the real thing just a few months later and has been immortalized on the cover of NCAA football '06 striking the pose.
6. If you watched the whole clip Ickey Woods was featured in above, then you also got a glimpse of Billy "White Shoes" Johnson (#3 in the video). His chicken dance is legendary in the NFL. And you have to admit, he really committed to it.

7. The CFL (Canadian Football League) is a lot more lenient about touchdown celebrations than the NFL is, and CFLers take full advantage of that. After scoring on the Hamilton Tiger-Cats last year, Terrence Edwards of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers arranges his teammates in a (not-so) impromptu game of Duck, Duck, Goose.

welker8. Wes Welker of the Patriots saw a fun opportunity after getting the six points last December "“ it had been snowing long enough to leave a dusting on the field, and the almost-pristine end zone was just crying out for a snow angel. So he gave it one. I thought it was pretty cute, but the NFL had just passed a rule banning players from going down to the ground for celebrations, so Welker was fined.

9. Kelley Washington, currently with the Ravens, is known for his bizarre touchdown dance named The Squirrel. If you didn't watch the whole Ickey video, you should do it now (Washington is the first one) "“ the Squirrel is like the cousin to Elaine Benes' flailing thumb dance. If you already watched the Ickey video but can't get enough of the Squirrel, here's another clip:

10. Finally, T.O. No post about touchdown celebrations would be complete without one of T.O.'s controversial antics. I personally really like one of the antics that actually ended up benefiting someone else: the time he got a touchdown against Tampa Bay on Thanksgiving Day and dropped the ball into a big Salvation Army kettle, donating it to them. "That was my donation," he later said. "I hope it's worth as much as the fine."

Do you have a favorite touchdown celebration? Or do you think they're ridiculous and an embarrassment to the league?

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Lionsgate Home Entertainment
arrow
entertainment
13 Great Facts About Bad Lieutenant
Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Lionsgate Home Entertainment

Bad Lieutenant can be accused of many things, but one charge you can't level against it is false advertising. Harvey Keitel's title character, whose name is never given, is indeed a bad, bad lieutenant: corrupt, sleazy, drug-addled, irresponsible, and lascivious, all while he's on the job. (Imagine what his weekends must be like!)

Abel Ferrara's nightmarish character study was controversial when it was released 25 years ago today, and rated NC-17 for its graphic nudity (including a famous glimpse at Lil’ Harvey), unsettling sexual violence, and frank depiction of drug use. The film packs a wallop, no doubt. Here's some behind-the-scenes info to help you cope with it.

1. THE PLACID WOMAN WHO HELPS THE LIEUTENANT FREEBASE HEROIN WROTE THE MOVIE.

That's Zoë Tamerlis Lund, who starred in Abel Ferrara's revenge-exploitation thriller Ms. 45 (1981) more than a decade earlier, when she was 17 years old. She and Ferrara are credited together for writing Bad Lieutenant, though she always insisted that wasn't the case. "I wrote this alone," she said. "Abel is a wonderful director, but he's not a screenwriter. She said elsewhere that she "wrote every word of that screenplay," though everyone agrees the finished movie included a lot of improvisation. Lund was a fascinating, tragic character herself—a musical prodigy who became an enthusiastic and unapologetic user of heroin before switching to cocaine in the mid-1990s. She died of heart failure in 1999 at age 37.

2. CHRISTOPHER WALKEN WAS SUPPOSED TO STAR IN IT.

Christopher Walken had starred in Ferrara's previous film, King of New York (1990), and was set to play the lead in Bad Lieutenant before pulling out at almost the last minute. Ferrara was shocked. "[Walken] says, 'You know, I don't think I'm right for it.' Which is, you know, a fine thing to say, unless it's three weeks from when you're supposed to start shooting," Ferrara said. "It definitely caught me by surprise. It put me in terminal shock, actually." Harvey Keitel replaced him (though not without difficulty; see below), and the film's editor, Anthony Redman, thought Keitel was a better choice anyway. "Chris is too elegant for the part," he said. "Harvey is not elegant." 

3. HARVEY KEITEL'S INITIAL REACTION TO THE SCRIPT WAS NOT PROMISING.

"When we gave [Keitel] the script the first time, he read about five pages and threw it in the garbage," Ferrara said. Keitel's recollection was a little more diplomatic. As he told Roger Ebert, "I read a certain amount of pages and I put it down. I said, 'There's no way I'm gonna make this movie.' And then I asked myself, 'How often am I a lead in a movie? Read it, maybe I can salvage something from it …' When I read the part about the nun, I understood why Abel wanted to make it."

4. IT WAS ORIGINALLY SUPPOSED TO BE FUNNY.


Lionsgate Home Entertainment

"It was always, in my mind, a comedy," Ferrara said. He cited the scene where the Lieutenant pulls the teenage girls over as a specific example of how Christopher Walken would have played it, and how Harvey Keitel changed it. "The lieutenant was going to end up dancing in the streets with the girls as the sun came up. They'd be wearing his gun belt and hat, and they'd have the radio on, you know what I mean? But oh my God, Harvey, he turned it into this whole other thing." Boy, did he. 

5. THAT SCENE WITH THE TEENAGE GIRLS HAD A REAL-LIFE ELEMENT THAT MADE IT EVEN CREEPIER.

One of the young women was Keitel's nanny. Ferrara: "I said, 'You sure you want to do this with your babysitter?' He says, 'Yeah, I want to try something.'"

6. MUCH OF IT WAS FILMED GUERRILLA-STYLE.

Like many indie-minded directors of low-budget films, Ferrara didn't bother with permits most of the time. "We weren't permitted on any of this stuff," editor Anthony Redman admitted. "We just walked on and started shooting." For the scene where a strung-out Lieutenant walks through a bumpin' nightclub, they sent Keitel through an actual, functioning club during peak operating hours.

7. A GREAT DEAL OF THE DIALOGUE AND ACTION WERE MADE UP ON THE FLY.

The script was only about 65 pages at first, which would have made for about a 65-minute movie. "It left a lot of room for improvisation," producer Randy Sabusawa said, "but the ideas were pretty distilled. They were there."

Script supervisor Karen Kelsall said supervising the script was a challenge. "Abel didn't stick to a script," she said. "Abel used a script as a way to get the money to make a movie, and then the script was kind of—we called it the daily news. It changed every day. It changed in the middle of scenes." Ferrara was unapologetic about the script's brevity. "The idea of wanting 90 pages ... is ridiculous."

8. AND THERE WERE EVEN MORE IDEAS THAT THEY DIDN'T USE.

Ferrara said a scene that epitomized the movie for him—even though he never got around to filming it—was one where the Lieutenant robs an electronics store, leaves, then gets a call about a robbery at the electronics store. He responds in an official capacity (they don't recognize him), takes a statement, walks out, and throws the statement in the garbage. "And that to me is the Bad Lieutenant, you know?" Ferrara said. 

9. THE BASEBALL PLAYOFF SERIES IS FICTIONAL.

The Mets have battled the Dodgers for the National League championship once, in 1988. (The Dodgers beat 'em and went on to win the World Series.) For the narrative Ferrara wanted—the Mets coming back from a 3-0 deficit to win the pennant—he had to make it up. He used footage from real Mets-Dodgers games (including Darryl Strawberry's three-run homer from a game in July 1991) and added fictional play-by-play. But the statistics were accurate: no team had ever been down by three in a best-of-seven series and then come back to win. (It's happened once since then, when the 2004 Red Sox did it.)

10. THEY HAD HELP FROM THE COP WHO SOLVED A SIMILAR CASE.

The disgusting crime at the center of the film (we won't dwell on it) was inspired by a real-life incident from 1981, which mayor Ed Koch called "the most heinous crime in the history of New York City." The street cop who solved it, Bo Dietl, advised Ferrara on the film and had an on-screen role as one of the detectives in our Lieutenant's circle of friends.

11. THEY DESECRATED THE CHURCH AS RESPECTFULLY AS THEY COULD.

Production designer Charles Lagola had his team cover the church’s altar and other surfaces with plastic wrap, then painted the graffiti and other defacements on the plastic.

12. IT WAS RATED NC-17 IN THEATERS, WITH AN R-RATED VERSION FOR HOME VIDEO.

Blockbuster and some of the other retail chains wouldn't carry NC-17 or unrated films, so sometimes studios would produce edited versions. (See also: Requiem for a Dream.) The tamer version of Bad Lieutenant was five minutes and 19 seconds shorter, with parts of the rape scene, the drug-injecting scene, and much of the car interrogation scene excised.

13. THE "SEQUEL" HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH IT, NOR DID FERRARA APPROVE OF IT.


First Look International

Movie buffs were baffled in 2009, when Werner Herzog directed Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, starring Nicolas Cage. It sounds like a sequel (or a remake), but in fact had no connection at all to the earlier film except that both were produced by Edward R. Pressman. Herzog said he'd never seen Ferrara's movie and wanted to change the title (Pressman wouldn't let him); Ferrara, outspoken as always, initially wished fiery death on everyone involved. Ferrara and Herzog finally met at the 2013 Locarno Film Festival in Switzerland, where Herzog initiated a conversation about the whole affair and Ferrara expressed his frustration cordially. 

Additional sources:
DVD interviews with Abel Ferrara, Anthony Redman, Randy Sabusawa, and Karen Kelsall.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Getty Images
arrow
Big Questions
How Are Balloons Chosen for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade?
Getty Images
Getty Images

The balloons for this year's Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade range from the classics like Charlie Brown to more modern characters who have debuted in the past few years, including The Elf On The Shelf. New to the parade this year are Olaf from Disney's Frozen and Chase from Paw Patrol. does the retail giant choose which characters will appear in the lineup?

Balloon characters are chosen in different ways. For example, in 2011, Macy’s requested B. Boy after parade organizers saw the Tim Burton retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art. (The company had been adding a series of art balloons to the parade lineup since 2005, which it called the Blue Sky Gallery.) When it comes to commercial balloons, though, it appears to be all about the Benjamins.

First-time balloons cost at least $190,000—this covers admission into the parade and the cost of balloon construction. After the initial year, companies can expect to pay Macy’s about $90,000 to get a character into the parade lineup. If you consider that the balloons are out for only an hour or so, that’s about $1500 a minute.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios