When Kyle Rudolph caught Case Keenum’s pass in the end zone Monday night, he scarcely imagined that the ensuing celebration would spark a national debate.
That’s been the consequence, however, after Rudolph spearheaded a plan to execute the children’s game commonly known as “Duck, Duck, Goose” in the Chicago Bears’ end zone after a 13-yard touchdown reception.
“I don’t know where the idea came to me,” said Rudolph. “I told the guys, ‘When we score here, whoever scores, you get to be the ducker, and everybody else sit down. Sure enough, I was the one that scored, thankfully, because I don’t sit criss-cross applesauce very well.”
As many Minnesotans have since protested, the game should be, in fact, called “Duck, Duck, Gray Duck,” for reasons elaborately laid out in a Deadspin story on Tuesday. Minnesota is the only state that largely recognizes the tagging-and-chasing game as “Duck, Duck, Gray Duck.”
Since the premeditated celebration took place, myriad think-pieces have been written like Deadspin’s, and many t-shirts have been designed in an attempt to capitalize monetarily on the great debate.
And Rudolph has been thrown into the middle of it.
“I said duck, duck, goose because everyone in that huddle knew what I was talking about except for Adam [Thielen],” Rudolph joked about his Minnesota-born teammate. “Obviously he’s duck, duck, gray duck. It’s been amazing to me that this state is the only state in the country that calls it that. They’re passionate about it, and they’re adamant that it’s duck, duck, gray duck.
“I guess that my kids will be raised on duck, duck, gray duck, and I’ll have to tell them that one day you’ll leave Minnesota, and you’ll go to college, and you’ll probably get made fun of, and I’ll have to teach you that it’s duck, duck, goose everywhere else in the world.”
Group celebrations used to be illegal and mandated a 15-yard penalty in the NFL, but a rule change during the offseason relaxed the strict regulations. Nine of the 11 Vikings who were on the field at the time of the touchdown participated in the game, including linemen Pat Elflein, Joe Berger and Mike Remmers, who sprinted to gather around Rudolph after the reception.
“Getting the linemen involved in a celebration, I thought, would be cool,” Rudolph said. “Those guys don’t really get to celebrate a whole lot. They’re always usually left out. They don’t like to dance, so a group dance wouldn’t have [worked].”
The next hurdle for Rudolph and company will be to top the display. In addition to preparing for the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, the tight end will have another important homework assignment.
“I’ll have to go home and visit all the children’s books with my girls and see what we can come up with,” Rudolph said.