Much has been made about the league office putting the officials assigned to work the Bengals-Steelers game on alert for the latest meeting between the two teams.
Bengals coach Marvin Lewis didn’t appreciate the extra attention being paid to the extra information given to the officials.
“They talk to the referees every week, so it was no big deal,” Lewis said. “I don’t know how somebody made a story out of something that wasn’t a story. It’s part of their preparation each and every week. It doesn’t change.”
Still, it’s a story because the NFL wants us to think it hates the acrimony. But as much as the NFL pretends that it hates the acrimony, the NFL secretly loves it.
That’s the point we made in the aftermath of the playoff matchup between the two teams, thanks to the league’s decision to showcase on NFL Network not a package of great plays from the game but the moments of acrimony. A similar package appeared on NFL Network on Sunday morning, making it clear that, while the official position is that shenanigans won’t be tolerated, the league is secretly hoping for plenty of shenanigans.
After all, the absence of shenanigans will generate no headlines. Shenanigans will.