Both fans and veterans of the NFL have been reacting to the taunting penalties called by referees throughout the start of the season. Many believe that these flags are having a negative effect on the game, while some say that players should have the wherewithal to not taunt their opponents and effectively hurt their own team.

(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

It was announced before this NFL season that penalizing players who bolstered or celebrated towards an opposing team would be a 'point of emphasis' for officiating crews. NFL referees have definitely emphasized the new taunting rule by calling everything they see during the first couple of weeks of regular season play.

To give you a taste of what calls NFL officials were making throughout the weekend, check out the below video via @MySportsUpdate on Twitter below.

What can be seen above is a string of instances where players are reacting emotionally to whatever just happened in the game. Whether its a slight flex in the face of an opponent who just got dominated or a look back at the opposing team after a pick-six, NFL referees are flagging all of it.

This rule received heavy criticism before the NFL season even began. Now that these calls are playing out in real-time, there are even more critics voicing their frustrations online.

Former NFL player @geoffschwartz let his thoughts be known below.

See more reactions from NFL fans on Twitter below.

Not everyone believes that these calls are bogus, though.

While the NFL has made clear that the issue at hand is taunting towards another member of the team, not celebrating in general, I tend to believe that this emphasis by referees has been a net-negative so far this season.

 

Another NFL veteran spoke on this subject, digging deeper into how calls like this can affect the game.

See what @DariusJButler had to say on @PatMcAfeeShow via Twitter below.

Butler believes that something needs to change, as these calls have massive implications on the game. Truth of the matter is that these professional athletes aren't thinking about how their actions may be perceived by the audience during the heat of a game. They are thinking about the best way to defeat their opponent and that is about it.

I am assuming that the taunting penalty being heavily enforced is an attempt to negate possible scrums on the field before they begin. There could also be the factor of a younger generation of football players, and young competitors in general, having an example set for them by the guys we all love to watch on Sundays.

No matter the outside effects that taunting may have, I believe that these penalties are having a negative effect on the watching experience for fans and also have major implications for the actual outcome of games.

(Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

Of course, personal fouls for hitting a player late or fighting in between plays should be enforced as they have in the past. But, getting in your opponents face, trash talking, and other forms of taunting without physical contact have been a part of football and sports for a very long time.

Any person on the side of the argument that says players should know not to taunt, get in their opponents faces, or to control themselves has never played a competitive and physical sport in their life. Emotions run at such heights when your mind and body are operating on this level; all anyone can do is react naturally.

As far as entertainment value goes, there is nothing that fires a fan up more than seeing their favorite team make a great play all while their opponent has to swallow some trash talk. On the other hand, nothing fires up my hatred for an opposing team than when one of their own taunts my favorite team. For me - all of it has a place in the NFL as the fire needs to get fueled in an emotionally-driven game.

In conclusion, let the boys play.

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