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The Quick 10: 10 Touchdown Celebrations

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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?

Stones, Bones, and Wrecks
A Chinese Museum Is Offering Cash to Whoever Can Decipher These 3000-Year-Old Inscriptions

During the 19th century, farmers in China’s Henan Province began discovering oracle bones—engraved ox scapulae and tortoise shells used by Shang Dynasty leaders for record-keeping and divination purposes—while plowing their fields. More bones were excavated in subsequent years, and their inscriptions were revealed to be the earliest known form of systematic writing in East Asia. But over the decades, scholars still haven’t come close to cracking half of the mysterious script’s roughly 5000 characters—which is why one Chinese museum is asking member of the public for help, in exchange for a generous cash reward.

As Atlas Obscura reports, the National Museum of Chinese Writing in Anyang, Henan Province has offered to pay citizen researchers about $15,000 for each unknown character translated, and $7500 if they provide a disputed character’s definitive meaning. Submissions must be supported with evidence, and reviewed by at least two language specialists.

The museum began farming out their oracle bone translation efforts in Fall 2016. The costly ongoing project has hit a stalemate, and scholars hope that the public’s collective smarts—combined with new advances in technology, including cloud computing and big data—will yield new information and save them research money.

As of today, more than 200,000 oracle bones have been discovered—around 50,000 of which bear text—so scholars still have a lot to learn about the Shang Dynasty. Many of the ancient script's characters are difficult to verify, as they represent places and people from long ago. However, decoding even just one character could lead to a substantial breakthrough, experts say: "If we interpret a noun or a verb, it can bring many scripts on oracle bones to life, and we can understand ancient history better,” Chinese history professor Zhu Yanmin told the South China Morning Post.

[h/t Atlas Obscura]

6 Eponyms Named After the Wrong Person
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Salmonella species growing on agar.

Having something named after you is the ultimate accomplishment for any inventor, mathematician, scientist, or researcher. Unfortunately, the credit for an invention or discovery does not always go to the correct person—senior colleagues sometimes snatch the glory, fakers pull the wool over people's eyes, or the fickle general public just latches onto the wrong name.


In 1885, while investigating common livestock diseases at the Bureau of Animal Industry in Washington, D.C., pathologist Theobald Smith first isolated the salmonella bacteria in pigs suffering from hog cholera. Smith’s research finally identified the bacteria responsible for one of the most common causes of food poisoning in humans. Unfortunately, Smith’s limelight-grabbing supervisor, Daniel E. Salmon, insisted on taking sole credit for the discovery. As a result, the bacteria was named after him. Don’t feel too sorry for Theobald Smith, though: He soon emerged from Salmon’s shadow, going on to make the important discovery that ticks could be a vector in the spread of disease, among other achievements.


An etching of Amerigo Vespucci
Henry Guttmann/Getty Images

Florentine explorer Amerigo Vespucci (1451–1512) claimed to have made numerous voyages to the New World, the first in 1497, before Columbus. Textual evidence suggests Vespucci did take part in a number of expeditions across the Atlantic, but generally does not support the idea that he set eyes on the New World before Columbus. Nevertheless, Vespucci’s accounts of his voyages—which today read as far-fetched—were hugely popular and translated into many languages. As a result, when German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller was drawing his map of the Novus Mundi (or New World) in 1507 he marked it with the name "America" in Vespucci’s honor. He later regretted the choice, omitting the name from future maps, but it was too late, and the name stuck.


A black and white image of young women wearing bloomers
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Dress reform became a big issue in mid-19th century America, when women were restricted by long, heavy skirts that dragged in the mud and made any sort of physical activity difficult. Women’s rights activist Elizabeth Smith Miller was inspired by traditional Turkish dress to begin wearing loose trousers gathered at the ankle underneath a shorter skirt. Miller’s new outfit immediately caused a splash, with some decrying it as scandalous and others inspired to adopt the garb.

Amelia Jenks Bloomer was editor of the women’s temperance journal The Lily, and she took to copying Miller’s style of dress. She was so impressed with the new freedom it gave her that she began promoting the “reform dress” in her magazine, printing patterns so others might make their own. Bloomer sported the dress when she spoke at events and soon the press began to associate the outfit with her, dubbing it “Bloomer’s costume.” The name stuck.


Execution machines had been known prior to the French Revolution, but they were refined after Paris physician and politician Dr. Joseph-Ignace Guillotin suggested they might be a more humane form of execution than the usual methods (hanging, burning alive, etc.). The first guillotine was actually designed by Dr. Antoine Louis, Secretary of the Academy of Surgery, and was known as a louisette. The quick and efficient machine was quickly adopted as the main method of execution in revolutionary France, and as the bodies piled up the public began to refer to it as la guillotine, for the man who first suggested its use. Guillotin was very distressed at the association, and when he died in 1814 his family asked the French government to change the name of the hated machine. The government refused and so the family changed their name instead to escape the dreadful association.


Alison Bechdel
Alison Bechdel
Steve Jennings/Getty Images

The Bechdel Test is a tool to highlight gender inequality in film, television, and fiction. The idea is that in order to pass the test, the movie, show, or book in question must include at least one scene in which two women have a conversation that isn’t about a man. The test was popularized by the cartoonist Alison Bechdel in 1985 in her comic strip “Dykes to Watch Out For,” and has since become known by her name. However, Bechdel asserts that the idea originated with her friend Lisa Wallace (and was also inspired by the writer Virginia Woolf), and she would prefer for it to be known as the Bechdel-Wallace test.


Influential sociologist Robert K. Merton suggested the idea of the “Matthew Effect” in a 1968 paper noting that senior colleagues who are already famous tend to get the credit for their junior colleagues’ discoveries. (Merton named his phenomenon [PDF] after the parable of talents in the Gospel of Matthew, in which wise servants invest money their master has given them.)

Merton was a well-respected academic, and when he was due to retire in 1979, a book of essays celebrating his work was proposed. One person who contributed an essay was University of Chicago professor of statistics Stephen Stigler, who had corresponded with Merton about his ideas. Stigler decided to pen an essay that celebrated and proved Merton’s theory. As a result, he took Merton’s idea and created Stigler’s Law of Eponymy, which states that “No scientific discovery is named after its original discoverer”—the joke being that Stigler himself was taking Merton’s own theory and naming it after himself. To further prove the rule, the “new” law has been adopted by the academic community, and a number of papers and articles have since been written on "Stigler’s Law."


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