In 2021, the Griddy reigned as the most popular NFL touchdown celebration trend. Here’s the story of how Louisiana football birthed the movement.
In football, playbook creativity tends to trickle up rather than down. High school coaches enjoy the flexibility of trying new schemes, and colleges take note. The NFL’s mobile quarterback trend came from the college scene, as did today’s rampant use of RPOs in professional leagues.
The grassroots freedom enjoyed on high school fields extends beyond the green and the confines of the game. Back in 2017, Landry Walker High School teammates Allen Davis and Ja’Marr Chase were joking around in the locker room one day. Davis started stepping along to a song, and his friend recorded him on Snapchat. Chase brought the move to the LSU Tigers locker room, where an undefeated 2019 team danced in the limelight. When LSU’s brightest stars made the NFL, they took the dance even further. Justin Jefferson popularized it in his historic 2020 rookie season, and Chase kept it going in his own historic 2021 rookie season. In five years, much has changed, but perfecting the Griddy remains a talking point among those who look on.
It’s no surprise that early adopters like Chase and Jefferson have it down to a science, while others who imitate the move hilariously fail. Watching Jefferson step in the Vikings’ end zone is great, but watching Kirk Cousins try to copy his teammate becomes a metaphor for his quarterback endeavors: it almost looks the same, but something is seriously wrong.
Even Mac Jones wanted to join in on the trend, skipping along to a touchdown with a half-hearted Griddy in a walk-off touchdown in the Pro Bowl. The clip went viral, as Griddy clips often do. Still, people are trying to learn Davis’ iconic dance. In January, Davis was teaching the dance to LSU head coach Brian Kelly, who is trying to soak up as much Louisiana cool as he possibly can. Perhaps mastering the move will be a more successful recruiting tool than his hype videos.
Allen Davis created The Griddy, then Ja’Marr Chase and Justin Jefferson spread it
“It really started in the weight room because we used to just be dancing around,” Davis explained to ESPN sports reporter Norman Locke in 2020. “We had a speaker in there and we used to be getting turnt up before the game.”
“One day, I was joking around with it, and then my lil partner, he was recording me. He put it on his Snap[chat], so I posted it on my Snap[chat]. The next day, I woke up for school, I got up, man, I saw like 100-something screenshots. Everybody was screen-recording it, everybody started doing it, so people just started doing it at different schools around Algiers, in the city [of New Orleans] and stuff.”
“The videos I was posting on Instagram—I was popping there on Instagram—so a lot of people saw it off that, but my partner Ja’Marr, he used to be seeing me doing it. Ja’Marr Chase, the number one that used to play for LSU, we used to be doing together at GLS, so I guess bro, he brought it up there [to Baton Rouge] and everybody started seeing it. Then, my boy Justin Jefferson, he came along and started hittin’ it, and then it started getting bigger after that, after fans started seeing it.”
Davis makes it easy to learn the dance, clarifying how to step and bounce with the right cadence. “If you don’t got a bounce with it, you ain’t doing the Griddy,” Davis said. Once the bounce is in line, Griddy enthusiasts have to “throw their B’s up” and “throw their stick up”, according to the iconic dance’s creator.
Although he wasn’t the first to do the dance, Jefferson is credited with bringing the move to the NFL.
“You know ‘The Griddy’ came from my hometown in New Orleans,” Jefferson told the Vikings before his record-breaking rookie season. “Really, we just took it from LSU, and we brought it to the league. Now, all around the world, teams are doing it, and I had to make something special about it because everybody has been doing it. I had to make sure I was the big dog of the dance.”
According to Jefferson, the NFL’s foremost authority on the dance, Adam Schefter has to be “the worst dancer ever” after Schefter had a cringeworthy attempt — but in Jefferson’s opinion, Cousins is definitely the worst to ever do it.
Davis appreciates all the fans and players taking part in the movement, but his goal is to get the Griddy featured as a touchdown dance in the Madden NFL video game franchise. Davis is not alone: there’s a Change.org petition to get the Griddy featured as a touchdown celebration in Madden 22.
Is there a correlation between the Griddy and winning? The 2019 LSU team and the meteoric rise of Justin Jefferson and Ja’Marr Chase in the NFL add magic to the myth of the celebrated touchdown dance. Usual TikTok trends are one thing, but seeing a moment of cutting up between friends in a New Orleans high school locker room played out on a global stage links the Griddy to winning.
After all, you have to be winning a little bit if you’re dancing in the end zone.
Check out who else was nominated for Best Choreography and who else won in all the major categories in the 2022 FanSided Sports Oscars.