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Gettin' Jiggy
ESPN The Magazine

Throw your hands up for the guys in the end zone -- the Dirty Birds, the Chicken Dancers, the Bob 'n Weavers. Haters of the touchdown dance --with their "act like you've been there before" mantra -- positively ache for the return of Barry Sanders, pining for the "classy" way he handed the ball to a ref after a score and jogged back to the bench. That's not classy, it's plain old boring. There's a reason players call it "takin' it to the house." The end zone is a mansion. A party palace. And not everyone can get in. Making it past the big burly bouncers and through the goal-line door is cause for celebration -- time to crank up the music and give it up to the rhythm. How can anyone fault a guy for having a little flavor? Check the flow of these guys who aren't afraid to get their swerve on. They're just showing some love for the game. -- Alan Grant

***

AHH, FREAK OUT!

It was only a matter of time before his big day came, and Jevon Kearse wasn't about to get caught without a move. "I needed two sacks in that game (Falcons, Week 15) to get the rookie record, and I didn't think I was going to get it. I knew they were going to keep a back in, chipping on me, or use the tight end to double-team. But then I got one sack early and I figured I needed to be prepared. I didn't want to get the record and then have nothing ready, no celebration planned. That wouldn't be good. So I thought up the broken-record dance during the game. I had to find a way to get across the message of me breaking a record, and I came up with the idea that I could be a DJ," Kearse says. He didn't miss a beat-headphones, scratchin'-and the finale? Breaking the record over his knee. "It went over some people's head, they were like, 'What's he doing?' They caught on after a while, though. My teammates think it's tight. They say I should keep doing it." We agree. -- Tim Keown

***

BOB 'N WEAVE

Envy was what inspired rookie Torry Holt to create his own dance: "I saw the Dirty Bird and I was like, 'Atlanta's doing their thing, and this team is doing its thing, why not the Rams?'" A splash of Ali, a touch of Busta Rhymes, DMX and Lost Boyz, and a bit of Holt's own style -- and the Bob 'n Weave was born. The dance debuted Week 3 against -- surprise -- the Falcons, who had stopped all dancing by then. Holt's challenge now is getting the QB to join the party: "Kurt probably has a little groove to him. I think he's just hiding it. I think everybody would do it if we won the big show -- Kurt, Coach Vermeil, Charley Armey, everybody." We'll be watching. -- Elizabethe Holland

***

JUST BUGGIN'

John Randle can't help himself. There's no telling when the mood to groove will strike. Like the first time, after a sack in his third season. "The feet took over and they just went on," he says. Never knows what's coming, either. The one that looks like he's swinging a bat? "That's the 'Highlander,'" he says. "I was -- swing -- gotcha! Cut him in half!" There is an ode to wrestler Ric Flair: "Like Ric's little strut." A Michael Jackson: "A little slide I did. A walkback." He does the scream from Braveheart and the existential Road Warrior pose: "Just standing there, looking around." Okay, we get it. But isn't this all a little bizarre? "They are all bizarre to me," Randle admits, "because I don't notice what I'm doing. If I see it by chance, I'm like, Oh my god, I'm doing that!" Whatever, it works. Only one thing: Singing "Mo' Money Mo' Problems" in that commercial…definitely doesn't work. -- John Clayton

***

WHIRLY BIRD

Call Jimmy Smith the hardest working man in the end zone. Just demonstrating his signature dance -- he'll do it if you ask nicely -- causes him to break out into a sweat. The three-time Pro Bowler says there's no real origin for his feet-spinning, hip-gyrating lasso dance. "I just wanted something totally different and really hyped," he says. "So I came up with this full-body movement, where I really get after it and give the people what they want." And Jags fans do love it. Smith, who has seen the EZ eight times this year, says they anticipate his moves. "After I score it gets real quiet," he says. "It's like the crowd pauses until I dance." Smith, from Jackson, Miss., confesses to being a "country boy" but says he hasn't ever done any calf roping. Maybe it was his brief stint with the Cowboys (1992-94) that taught him to "rope them doggies." -- Alan Grant

This article appears in the February 7, 2000 issue of ESPN The Magazine.



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