Detroit Lions: Do Golden Tate's touchdown taunts make him selfish?

Shawn Windsor
Detroit Free Press
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ARLINGTON, Texas — He caught the ball, juked a defender, and took off down the sideline. At the 10-yard-line, Golden Tate began to high-step, turning back toward the defenders chasing him to make sure they saw him. 

What good is a taunt without an audience? 

And what good is football without a little trolling? 

Or a player making a play in a tough and dangerous game and letting the other side hear about it? 

I think it's fun, and you should too. But Matt Patricia doesn't.

And yet until he starts to win, it's about all you’ve got as a Detroit Lions fan. Because what happened Sunday afternoon at AT&T Stadium — a 26-24 loss to the Dallas Cowboys — just isn’t right. 

You were starting to believe again. Your team had just throttled the New England Patriots. And when Matthew Stafford lofted a spiral over the desperate fingertips of a Cowboys’ defender and into the hands of Tate with two minutes left in the game?  

Well, the mind can get ahead of itself. 

But then you remember you’re a Lions fan. And that, like cosmic clockwork, your team would find a way to break your heart


Which means all you’ve got are moments, the plays that make you smile. Like when Tate caught that touchdown pass and celebrated 10 yards before he got to the end zone. 

More:Watch every Lions touchdown vs. the Dallas Cowboys!

That takes guts — takes emotion and confidence, too.  

And if he loses the ball as he’s showboating? 

“Then I’m a douchebag,” he said.  

But he didn’t lose the ball. He scored a touchdown, lifting the team in the process. 

Admit it, you loved it when Tate began to high-step. You loved it, too, when he stopped at the 2-yard-line, pivoted 180 degrees, and damn near moonwalked his way to the end zone. 

Was it selfish? 

Golden Tate scores a touchdown in the first quarter against the Cowboys.

Tate said so. Though I don’t believe he really thinks that. Because he did it again after Matt Patricia lectured him the first time. 

Patricia had told Tate he shouldn’t celebrate until he got into the end zone.  

Yet Tate couldn’t wait that long, and when he caught the ball with just over two minutes left and no defenders in front of him, he began to high-step again, holding the ball out for emphasis. 

“I let my emotions get way too involved at the end,” said Tate. “Kind of forgot what (Patricia) said.” 

Tate said all the right things after the game about discipline and teamwork and setting an example for younger players.  

“I’ve got to put the team first,” he said. “If I bobble that ball and it goes out of the back of the end zone, (or) if I get hit, (and) that ball goes out of bounds, and we don’t score?” 

You get the picture. He’d be the goat. Not to be confused with the G.O.A.T. 

On the other hand, if he didn’t high-step, or talk trash, or look back and stare at a beaten defender — as many players in the NFL do — then what? 

I’ll tell you what: the game would be insufferable. Run by hypocritical owners who arrive at their gilded palaces in helicopters, hardly trying to be inconspicuous.  

Sure, not every owner loves the camera. But don’t fool yourself; plenty of them want to descend from the sky so that those on the ground can point and say, “Hey, that’s Jerry Jones!” 

Speaking of Jones, here is an owner who sends a quote sheet to the press box after the game so that reporters know what he thinks just happened. And that’s fine. It’s his team. 

Yet this remains a game, not a pledge to the military. It’s supposed to be fun.  

Now, if Tate high-stepped against the Lions playing for another team? You’d hate it. That’s OK, too. 

You’re supposed to feel something when a player taunts or showboats or mocks his opponent. That’s what Tate wants, to take you on the ride with him. 

And he did. In the second quarter and again late in the fourth. 

It was almost enough. Then it wasn’t.  

So hang onto whatever fun you can.

Contact Shawn Windsor: 313-222-6487 or Follow him on Twitter @shawnwindsor.

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