The NFL’s taunting rule achieved the opposite of its intended purpose Monday night. The NFL emphasized taunting this offseason in part to ensure an unnecessary act outside of play would not taint or overshadow the result of a game. What it has done is take the passion out of the game and ruin a few contests so far in 2021.
With the Pittsburgh Steelers clinging to a three-point lead late in the fourth quarter, Bears edge rusher Cassius Marsh recorded a timely third-down sack of Ben Roethlisberger. However, a Tony Corrente flag negated the play following Marsh’s brief celebration.
According to The Washington Post‘s Mark Maske, “The NFL fully backs the taunting call made Monday night against the [Bears’] Cassius Marsh.”
Per Maske’s source, “The call was the definition of taunting, with the player gesturing toward the sideline and opponent.”
On Wednesday, the league dropped a vieo explaining further why the taunting penalty was correct.
After the game, Marsh pointed out Corrente’s “hip-check,” and insisted he was not taunting his former team.
“I think it’s pretty clear to everybody who saw it that I wasn’t taunting. I’ve been doing that celebration my whole career,” the journeyman linebacker told NFL.com.
“It’s just sad to see stuff like that happen in a close game like that.”
Marsh continued, “I got hip-checked by the ref and it’s pretty clear. If I were to do that to a ref or even touch the ref, we’d get kicked out of the game and possibly suspended or fined… I just think that was incredibly inappropriate.”