"Atlanta had the ‘Dirty Bird,’ Green Bay had the ‘Lambeau Leap.’ We had the ‘Mile High Salute,’" Denver Broncos Ring of Fame running back Terrell Davis told reporters one afternoon after training camp last week. "Maybe bringing it back, it could help."
But a new set of rules set by NFL (No Fun League) commissioner Roger Goodell had many Broncos fans believing the Mile High Salute would be penalized. Even The Denver Post expressed its outrage, confused by the new rule seemingly outlawing the Mile High Salute.
That simply isn't the case.
The Mile High Salute, as it has always been executed - as a salute to teammates, and as a salute to the fans - will live on without penalty. The expression will only be considered unsportsmanlike conduct if a player directs a "military salute" to a player from the opposing team.
In other words, taunting.
Here's the explanation from the NFL Rules, Rule 12, Section 3, Article 1, Note 3 (emphasis added):
Violations of (b) will be penalized if any of the acts are committed directly at an opponent. These acts include but are not limited to: sack dances; home run swing; incredible hulk; spiking the ball; spinning the ball; throwing or shoving the ball; pointing; pointing the ball; verbal taunting; military salute; standing over an opponent (prolonged and with provocation); or dancing.
The rule specifically details that the acts have to be "committed directly at an opponent."
So salute away, Denver Broncos players, to each other, and to the fans, as you have always done. You won't be penalized if it's in a non-taunting fashion.
Furthermore, you have Terrell Davis' blessing to do so.
"Oh, yeah. Anybody here (in Denver) has it," Davis said. "Please do."
(H/T Jon Heath Sports Media)