Saints receiver Michael Thomas pretends to make a call on a flip phone that he dug out from under the goal post pad after scoring a touchdown during Sunday’s win over L.A.
New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas dialed it back to 2003 while celebrating a touchdown on Sunday, nailing every detail right down to the flip phone.
Mimicking retired Saints receiver Joe Horn’s controversial stunt from 15 years earlier, Thomas caught a late 72-yard touchdown reception and then punctuated the moment by pulling a flip phone from underneath the goal post padding, dialing it, and putting it up to his ear.
‘I loved the celebration myself, and I think it was the perfect time when I did it,’ Thomas said after the streaking Saints handed the Los Angeles Rams their first loss of the season. ‘We love our fans and we always want to bring them back great memories.’
Like Horn, Thomas received a 15-yard penalty for the premeditated celebration, which was enforced on the ensuing kickoff. According to
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Mimicking retired Saints receiver Joe Horn’s controversial stunt from 15 years earlier, Thomas caught a late 72-yard touchdown reception and then punctuated the moment by pulling a flip phone from underneath the goal post padding, dialing it, and putting it up to his ear
Joe Horn’s famous celebration resulted in a $30,000 fine for his second offense in 2003
When asked who planted the phone, Thomas had an answer all ready.
‘I think Joe Horn left it,’ he said, as quoted by ESPN.
As Thomas told reporters, he actually purchased two flip phones and had one under the padding of each field goal post on opposite ends of the Superdome.
Thomas’s touchdown nearly sealed the win for New Orleans, but because the final gun had not been fired, Fox sports analyst and former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman criticized the celebration.
‘It’s very uncharacteristic of Michael Thomas,’ Aikman said. ‘It’s too big of a game to be risking those kinds of yards.’
Although Horn faced widespread criticism in 2003, reaction to Thomas was more subdued on Sunday.
Thomas was already eyeing the goal post, where he had stashed a flip phone, after crossing the goal line after the 72-yard play
Those who did object seemed to share the sentiment of WFAN radio host Mike Francesa, who complained: ‘One selfish, “look at me” act and nobody will even talk about the game. So stupid.’
Fox studio analyst Michael Strahan was actually playing for the New York Giants against the Saints when Horn busted out the flip phone in 2003, and he was not happy to see a new adaptation of the performance.
‘I didn’t like it then,’ Strahan said, referring Horn’s original. ‘I didn’t like it now. But I think guys want to be creative, they want to come up and have something different form what everybody else is doing. That I don’t like, when you do the prop, because there is also a manner of respect when you score a touchdown.’
Horn’s famous cell phone stunt occurred during a Sunday Night Football game in which he finished with four touchdowns and 133 receiving yards.
Like Horn against the Giants in 2003, Thomas had 12 catches for the game on Sunday, but finished with a team-record 211 receiving yards as quarterback Drew Brees passed for 346 yards and four touchdowns in New Orleans’ seventh straight win.
As Horn told ESPN, the Thomas’s reference to his 2003 celebration ‘absolutely’ meant a lot to him. Horn said he actually texted Thomas and ‘thanked him for doing what most athletes in his position would never do.’
Like Horn against the Giants in 2003, Michael Thomas (pictured) had 12 catches for the game on Sunday, but finished with a team-record 211 receiving yards as quarterback Drew Brees passed for 346 yards and four touchdowns in New Orleans’ seventh straight win
After working himself from a fifth-round pick out of a community college into an four-time Pro Bowl selection, Horn retired officially in 2010, although he had been out of the NFL since 2007
Michael Thomas’s teammate Austin Carr (left) found the celebration amusing
‘It took a lot of courage … and I appreciate that, and I’ll never forget that,’ Horn said.
Saints coach Sean Payton was less impressed, but didn’t let his dissatisfaction with the penalty tarnish Thomas’s record-setting day.
‘He played outstanding today,’ Payton said. ‘I mean, I wasn’t all fired up about the penalty – we’ll get it figured out and handled – but he had a great game.’
According to Thomas, Payton told him to ‘just be smart.’
‘Be smart and don’t hurt your team,’ Thomas said. ‘And he loves the way I play, and of course he knows I’m not doing anything to hurt the team. But as the coach and the leader of this organization, [he reminded me] you got to be smart.’
After working himself from a fifth-round pick out of a community college into an four-time Pro Bowl selection, Horn retired officially in 2010, although he had been out of the NFL since a brief stint in Atlanta in 2007.