When the N.F.L. loosened the rules on celebrations a year ago, it brought a spike in spikes and a higher rate of high fives. But it has also ushered in an era of intricately choreographed routines that have grown more elaborate as the season has gone on.
A mass of players posing for a mock group photo seems to be the single most popular celebration. But many others have been much more creative and original.
Here’s a sampling, chronologically, of the best of the N.F.L. 2018 celebrations, most of which would have once drawn a flag. And stay tuned, because they seem to keep getting better.
Sept. 30, Titans vs. Eagles. After catching a touchdown pass, Tajae Sharpe delivered the first marquee celebration of the regular season, rolling the football as if bowling and knocking down a mass of teammates lined up as pins. The large number of participants and the allusion to another sport became themes of the season.
Dragon Ball Z
Sept. 30, Browns vs. Raiders. Darren Fells and David Njoku performed the fusion dance from the Japanese cartoon series. The dance allows two fighters to merge into one superfighter. But there was no sign of actual fusion of the two tight ends.
Oct. 7, Steelers vs. Falcons. JuJu Smith-Schuster flopped to the ground after a touchdown. Was he hurt? Nope, he was about to simulate the process of giving birth. He placed the ball beneath himself, and teammate James Conner removed it and handed it back. Smith-Schuster then rocked and cooed at his “baby.”
Oct. 7, Chiefs vs. Jaguars. The Chiefs borrowed from basketball, lining up for a well-executed tip drill, with each player knocking the ball back to the one behind. A little trickier with the oblong sphere.
Oct. 14, Seahawks vs. Raiders. Tyler Lockett turned to a 2002 movie classic about marching bands, “Drumline.” Lockett filled the role of Devon Miles, the drumming protagonist played on screen by Nick Cannon. Recreating one of the film’s dramatic moments, Lockett as Miles reached out and played the snare drum of a member of a rival band, drawing a punch and sparking a simulated brawl.
Oct. 14, Cowboys vs. Jaguars. MMA superstar Conor McGregor was at the game, meeting owner Jerry Jones and players. The visit prompted Dak Peterson to imitate McGregor’s trademarked loose-armed strut after a touchdown. Ezekiel Elliot did the same later in the game.
Oct. 15, 49ers vs. Packers. Marquise Goodwin also paid tribute to another sport, but it was one in which he himself was once world class. Goodwin was a two-time N.C.A.A. champion and finished 10th in the long jump at the 2012 Olympics. He celebrated a touchdown reception with a full-on long jump; teammates “marked” his effort. He got pretty good distance too.
Oct. 28, Seahawks vs. Lions. Lockett was again at the center of a creative celebration. With the World Series underway in Boston and Los Angeles, Lockett took the role of the pitcher and threw the ball at batter Doug Baldwin, who took exception to the brushback and charged the mound.
Nov. 4, Saints vs. Rams. Inspired by a similar stunt performed by Joe Horn of the Saints in 2003, Michael Thomas celebrated a score by pulling out a hidden cellphone and miming making a call. He had hidden phones at the bottom of both goal posts, since of course he could not be sure which end zone he might score in. Extra points for attention to detail: Thomas used an old-fashioned flip phone of the kind readily available in ’03.
Horn said the homage brought a tear to his eye, according to The Times-Picayune. But because Thomas used a prop, his celebration drew a $30,000 fine. Someone in the N.F.L. office may have had a sense of history: That was the same fine Horn received.
The Camera Never Blinks
Nov. 11, Chiefs vs. Cardinals. Tyreek Hill headed straight from the end zone after his touchdown and into the stands, where he commandeered a CBS TV camera for some quick filming. Again, with a prop involved, this one drew the ire of the refs, and a flag was thrown. Like Thomas’s phone stunt, this one was a homage, to Chad Ochocinco, who did something similar with the Bengals in 2007.
Just My Imagination
Thursday, Bears-Lions. In one of the more elaborate celebrations, more than 15 Bears coordinated their swaying to perform a tribute to the moves of the Temptations, with Prince Amukamara the lead singer. Deon Bush played the crowd. The performance came in Motown, of course.
Drop in the Bucket
Thursday, Cowboys vs. Redskins. After an early touchdown, Ezekiel Elliott dropped $21 in an oversized Salvation Army kettle, a nod to his jersey number. The Cowboys have announced they will match fans’ own $21 donations. Later in the game, Elliott lifted Prescott into the oversized bucket. That drew a 15-yard penalty. Both celebrations were throwbacks of a sort. Elliott had jumped into the bucket in 2016.
At the Line
Thursday: Cowboys vs. Redskins. Amari Cooper set up as if to take a free throw over the goal-post, a fairly common celebration this season. But Cooper gave it a twist when he double clutched on the shot, in imitation of Markelle Fultz’s ugly free throw effort for the 76ers earlier this month. (Unlike Fultz, Cooper made the shot.) Fultz apparently wasn’t offended, posting he and his friends’ amused reaction on Snapchat.
Sunday, Seahawks vs. Panthers. Another Lockett celebration and another recreation of a famous sports moment. Lockett made a basketball shot, then emphatically stepped over the prone body of David Moore, an allusion to a disdainful move pulled by Allen Iverson over Tyronn Lue in the 2001 N.B.A. Finals.
Sunday, Vikings-Packers. A Caribbean dance craze from the 1950s was the theme of this celebration. Touchdown scorer Dalvin Cook was the first limboer, while Adam Thielen, hoisted by his teammates, was the limbo bar.