Yahoo- Even before the opening kickoff of the Carolina Panthers' 37-23 win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers here, Panthers cornerback Josh Norman was already planning his end zone celebration.
He said he spoke with a league representative to vet his dance, which he calls "riding Delta" after his Saddlebred horse (who has his own Twitter account).
"I told the guy, 'Look, man, this is what I'm gonna do,'" Norman said in the locker room after the game. "He was cool with it. He was like, 'OK.' I don't think he believed me. But I did."
The referees thought otherwise. Norman was penalized for "riding Delta," ostensibly because the dance was fine but using the ball as a prop is not, but the bigger story is that a cornerback was so confident he'd score on the Bucs that he was making plans before the coin toss.
"I got a little tip," Norman said. "I knew he was going to continue throwing at me. I was bound to get one of 'em, shoot."
Norman did the same, jumping a route and running an interception all the way back before "riding Delta." He explained his "tip" as "formations that we study during the week; we just understand and know where we gotta be on the field, and once we're there, we take it."
"I know how cool I am and how I play,” he said, "so keep throwing it. I'm gonna be there for the play, and I'm gonna score."
Okay, so we can slow down with this whole idea that he "knew" he would score. What actually happened is that he thought he would score. I bet if you spoke candidly to any cornerback worth his salt before a game they would tell you that they think they are going to score, especially when playing against a rookie quarterback. After all, it is the position where success is most predicated upon anticipation and confidence. That's why I don't even think this counts unless you call your shot beforehand. You know why Babe Ruth calling his shot was impressive? Because we didn't have to wait until he talked to the media afterwards to explain how impressive it was. If Josh Norman had found a camera crew during the pregame and said that he was going to score a touchdown then I give him all the credit in the world. However, until he does that, asking the league if his celebration is kosher or not is just a preemptive measure taken for the next time he does score a touchdown. I guess my point is that if Josh Norman DIDN'T score a touchdown we would never have known the steps he took before hand for if he did score a touchdown. It's all reward with zero risk. Don't get me wrong, talking to league officials about a play that hasn't happened yet is so cocky that I can't help but respect it. Still, Josh Norman could have made this very same play in 6 weeks and still came out and said that he cleared his celebration with the league first, so take that for what it's worth. I'll say this, the kid has got impressive foresight, and apparently doesn't lack preparation, but he "knew" he was going to score the same way I "know" we are going to run out of beer when I grab an extra 12 pack. That's not a bad quality to have, but I don't think I am ready to declare him Nostradamus just yet.
P.S. This story really just tells me more about where Jameis Winston is at as a player, than it does anything about Josh Norman. Four games in and you already have NFL teams sharing secrets about your tendencies? When the opposition's defensive players are preplanning dance parties on your grave then I think it's time for some more extensive film study, Jameis.