The Green Monster. The Dive. The Tuck Rule. The Butt Fumble.
New England sports lore is packed with quick identifiers to reference its most iconic occurrences. Matthew Judon, linebacker for the New England Patriots, is writing his own chapter in the ledgers with his trademark sack celebration, where he arches his back and "wipes" his mouth.
It's a common sight on Sundays in New England, as the former Baltimore Raven has earned 25.5 quarterback takedowns over the last two seasons. His 13 this season leads the NFL, and already stands as the third-best single-season tally in franchise history on pace to top Andre Tippett's mark of 18.5 in 1984.
Appearing in an NFL Films segment with Fox Sports' Charissa Thompson, Judon revealed that, like many great works in today's pop culture spectrum, his celebration is not an original work, but a remake. It's a reminder of his time with the Ravens, as Judon co-opted the work from former teammate Michael Crabtree, who approved the passing of the celebratory torch.
"He was on the team, I asked him!" Judon insists with mock annoyance. "He was like 'it's cool.'"
The celebration has often been imitated in New England upon his arrival on a four-year, $56 million deal in March 2021 ... but never quite duplicated, as current Patriots teammate David Andrews showcases in the featurette.
Simple repetition helped Judon take on full ownership of the wipe: there have been 60 causes for celebration since he entered the league as a fifth-round pick out of Grand Valley State, good for 10th in the NFL in that span. It was another fellow Raven, running back Mark Ingram, who encouraged Judon to give the people something else to remember him by and the pass rusher has kept the act going ever since.
"Ingram told me, ‘Bro, you stick with one celebration and do it over and over, that’s when they’ll notice (you've arrived),’ he said.
If anything, Judon's Crabtree impression is easier to pull off than his own work.
Judon previously gained fame for an unusual celebration upon taking down Derek Carr on three consecutive plays during a November 2018 win over the Oakland Raiders. Upon the third sack, a feat praised by Thompson as "pretty sick," Judon ran down M&T Bank Stadium's tunnel to the locker room, an apparent attempt to go out on a high note. Judon was awarded a game ball by head coach John Harbaugh, who jokingly suggested forming a search party for the defender, for his efforts in the 34-17 win.
Those unfamiliar with Judon's celebration could receive a crash course on Thursday when the Patriots (6-4) face off against the Minnesota Vikings (8:20 p.m ET, NBC). The hosting Vikings (8-2) are coming off a 40-3 defeat at the hands of the Dallas Cowboys, a loss that saw Kirk Cousins sacked seven times.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags
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