“Why shouldn’t you be thankful and happy when things go your way” Billy ‘White Shoes’ Johnson said of his famed ‘funky chicken,’ endzone elation. “I danced in college I never thought I’d dance in the NFL.”
This expression of exhilaration earned Johnson the distinction of being amongst the first in the NFL to outwardly celebrate a touchdown in the endzone. White Shoes inspired a generation to celebrate out loud and was a literal game changer. No seriously, the rules on excessive celebration are still being revised to this day. Where is the line? Should their be one? What is too much? What will offend our audience? Johnson expressed, “They can’t legislate exuberance, happiness.” A simple Google search will reveal the evolution and amendments of the official rule on excessive celebration as recent as 2018.
From 1974 to 1988, Johnson danced into endzones as a wide receiver and punt specialist. He was drafted by the Houston Oilers and played for the Montreal Alouettes, Atlanta Falcons, and Washington Redskins over the course of his career. The 15th round draft pick, three time Pro Bowler, NFL 75th Anniversary Team member and NFL executive has tapped into every emotion in the game.
“Spontaneity at its best,” Johnson said of his precedent breaking expression of success.
Rivalry as he spoke of the competition, “They never wanted to see me do it. They’d say, we like your dance but we hope you don’t today.”
Finally, humanity, “Not if the score is 50-7. However in the heat of the game, I don’t see anything wrong with it.”