Burfict fine for Maxx Williams hit underscores failure to control him

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Prior to Saturday night’s game between the Steelers and Bengals, it wasn’t publicly known that Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict had drawn a $50,000 for an illegal hit on Ravens tight end Maxx Williams during a Week 17 game. Privately, however, Burfict knew. And the Bengals surely knew.

But Burfict nevertheless was out of control again only six days later, giving Ben Roethlisberger the business after a sack that injured his shoulder and taking a shot at the head of receiver Antonio Brown, at a time when Burfict knew or should have known that the football had flown by Brown incomplete.

The announcement regarding Burfict’s three-game suspension doesn’t mention the apparent cheap shot on Roethlisberger, focusing instead on the hit on Brown. Regardless, the magnitude of the previously-unknown fine shows just how important it was for the Bengals to control Burfict.

Apart from the loss of field position that comes with a 15-yard penalty, it’s now clear that Burfict was on deck for a suspension.

The real question is whether the NFL would have imposed the suspension if the Bengals had won the game. Given Burfict’s history, he could have been suspended for the wild-card game, but the league opted not to try to make a suspension for a playoff game stick. (Last year, the league tried to impose a one-game suspension for a playoff game on Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh; the suspension was overturned on appeal.)

Coach Marvin Lewis came under fire for the Burfict-and-Pacman dumb-and-dumber maneuver that handed the Steelers a playoff win. The fact that the Bengals knew Burfict was one illegal play away from a suspension makes the whole thing even dumberer.

If owner Mike Brown didn’t know that Burfict had been fined $50,000 for his Week 17 antics, could that change his reported inclination to keep Lewis in place for a 14th season? In theory, yes. As a practical matter, however, Brown realizes what Lewis has accomplished over the last 13 years, taking one of the most downtrodden franchises in the league to seven playoff appearances, including a whopping five in a row.

71 responses to “Burfict fine for Maxx Williams hit underscores failure to control him

  1. No fine? Sure he’s losing game checks, but he should also be fined. And given that he was fined $50,000 just days earlier and learned nothing from it, this fine should be at least $75,000.

  2. I’ve always wanted to own a Baseball team

    If I win the Powerball I’m going to buy the Bengals and fire Burfict

    (Yeah, I know the Bengals aren’t a baseball team – but I own them. They’ll play what I tell them to play)

  3. You’re in the media, florio. It’s so ridiculous how biased you are toward the Steelers. Football is becoming so soft. If Burfict played for the Steelers he would be praised for his play.

  4. 55 Played a Great Game And Ruined a Great Game… Dude Is Out Of Control. Should Have Gotten A Four Game Or Quarter Of A Season Plus A Fine. Dude Can’t Help Himself. He’ll B Out Of The League in 2 Years

  5. Imagine how many players from the 70’s – 90’s laugh at all this crap.

    The guy hits hard…..really hard.

    The NFL is all about protecting ITSELF…..Burfict puts people in the stands.

  6. Enough already we get it. He is dirty and should be thrown out of the league. Find something else to write about for God’s sake.

  7. floriohatesthebengals
    Jan 11, 2016, 8:34 PM EST
    You’re in the media, florio. It’s so ridiculous how biased you are toward the Steelers. Football is becoming so soft. If Burfict played for the Steelers he would be praised for his play


    That is why James Harrison was never fined for any illegal hits.

  8. I didn’t see anything wrong with the tackle on Ben. That shouldn’t even be in the discussion.

  9. Burficts hit on Ben was clean. It’s amazing how the Steelers like laying these tough hits by cry when they are on the receiving end.

  10. People are gonna complain about the hit on Ben, which I thought was just a good play. I have no idea why he was trying to strip the ball from Ben after he was down, but I don’t think Bufict was trying to hurt him.

    But no one is giving this dude the benifit of the doubt anymore. As a Lions fan, I saw that with Suh. This dude has to be on his best from now on or he will get a fine for farting into the wind. He best get used to this new reality.

  11. Chad did you watch the film the rest of the entire football watching nation did?? The hit was clean. However the knee pile driving into Ben’s shoulder was not!!!

  12. Several of you can’t read. He was suspended for the hit on Brown, not the tackle on Roethlisberger which was hard but clean. No issue in the article about the tackle but, rather the extra stuff with the knee into the shoulder after the tackle. Dude is a phenomenal linebacker. He’s also a psychopath. If you’re defending the hit on Brown, I feel sorry for your parents.

  13. Those insisting the tackle on Roethlisberger was clean or no big deal haven’t watched the close-up footage of Burfict jamming his knee into Roethlisberger’s shoulder after Ben was on the ground and the play was over. Find a clip of that footage or stop commenting.

    I’d never pretend my Steelers are innocent lil angels–or that I have a problem with tough defense and hard hits. But Burfict’s behavior–toward our players and those of other teams–is dangerous. He crosses the line. His coaches know he crosses the line. Since he can’t or won’t rein it in, he probably doesn’t belong in the league.

  14. Hilarious how many Steelers fans are coming out of the woodworks to talk about their moral obligation to castigate dirty players.

    Did you even watch the Steelers the last 30 years, or what?

  15. Burfict definiyely went after Brown’s head and should have drawn a penalty, fine and maybe a 1-2 game suspension, but there was no cheap shot on Roethlisberger. Florio is such a Steeler homer.

  16. The NFL had a chance to send a very clear message by suspending the animal for half a season. But instead they will suspend someone a full year for smoking something that should be legal anyway. Wait until this piece of garbage really hurts someone. SMH. SHOULD be thrown out of the league.

  17. That Briwn hit was vicious and the nfl doesn’t need guys who hit high like that against defenseless receivers. Whatever to those people who say the nfl is going soft. Players can make a legal hard tackle without cheaply going after a defenseless players head or knees. Especially with what we are learning about concussions. Just no excuse these days.

  18. Burflict suspended for playing football. This is ridiculous, all the teams should terminate all their contracts and close their doors. Non Football League.

  19. Cody Wallace spears an unaware player head to head after the whistle: no response from Steelers fans

    Burfict tackles too hard: KICK HIM OUT THE LEAGUE!!!

  20. Again, I hate the Steelers. The person playing the race card up above needs to shut up. Every time someone pulls that crap it damages the credibility of real racial discrimination. You are embarrassing all intellent black men by that comment, and if you’re too ignorant to realize the damage done then you should be banned from the internet.

  21. As a steeler fan I didn’t know burfect cheap shot on the raven tight end. Sounds like at least 2 AFC north teams will try to make burfects knees im perfect

  22. Why does this article mention the Roethlisberger sack? There was absolutely nothing dirty about that play, it was a textbook take down. Obviously this article is biased for mentioning a perfectly clean play acting like it was something dirty.

    Having gotten that out of my system, the Antonio Brown defenseless head hunting was an extremely dirty and dangerous play that could have paralyzed the league’s best receiver and Burfict should be suspended more than 3 games, but the league is super soft on punishments that don’t involve purely biased speculation involving the Patriots and whatever made up “gate” they want to call it.

  23. Burfict is a symptom. The NFL (owners included) is the root of the problem. For all the bluster and baloney that comes out of the NFL about player safety, I have never seen a clearer example of spearing than the hit on Bernard by Shazier. Spearing is almost never called but it happens all the time. If you want to make a big deal about Burfict, that’s fine. But he is a known problem. How about Shazier, a problem in training? Here’s a novel idea: Why don’t the NFL officials enforce the rules already in place? When will the NFL stop lying to the public and get officials that can and will do their jobs?

  24. No one is saying Burficts sack of Ben was illegal or dirty. It was the knee to the shoulder after. Or perhaps how he dove at the back of roethlisbergers knee in the previous game. For those who think Florio loves the steelers, he didn’t pull punches when Harrison was hitting illegally, or when tomlin stepped onto the field. Back when Harrison was being fined, I read the same comments from steeler fans that bengals fans are now making about burfict. He hits too hard. Fact is these rules have been in place long enough for defenders to learn to adjust their style of play. Harrison seems to have adjusted, now it’s Burficts turn. The guys got all the talent in the world, but he’s out of control. I thought tom couglin should have done something when ODB was out of control. But in couglins defense that was a one game sample. Marvin Lewis has a large enough sample,on burfict to do something.

  25. Pftsliberalagenda says:
    Jan 11, 2016 8:21 PM

    As a practical matter please stop this the against burfict based solely on race

    Race? The only race involved here is Burfict’s race to the end of his NFL career.

  26. As a person who is neither a Bengal nor Steelers fan the discussion should be simple.

    Any player on any team who knowingly and purposely tries to injure another professional should lose the privilege to play in the NFL for a predetermined time.

    Second occurrence receives a year suspension.

    Third occurrence you’re out of league.

    This crap would stop real quick

  27. What fantastic poise and composure by the Wizard of Boz. After all the craziness, the emotion, the horrid weather, game on the line, on the road, bitter rival, he blasts a game winner right down the centre. No easy task. Just ask Blair Walsh, whose circumstances were much easier in every facet.

  28. Fines and suspensions have limited impact on player behavior.. maybe instead of just fining the player they should fine the Head Coach and Owners as well. Perhaps then the coaches and owners will have an incentive to hold players out of a game if they are becoming out of control.

  29. From reading some of the comments, a few do not not what you are talking about with the Big Ben sack. He’s not talking about the actual hit, he’s talking about when Burfict completely sound himself around and knees Ben on the shoulder that was obviously already hurt. It was clear that was intentional, and with malice. I’m not a fan of either team, but that is completely ridiculous and should draw a suspension by its. But the hit on Brown, was ridiculous to, but is kind of questionable if it was with intent to hurt Brown. Ha and those Cincy fans were ridiculous, booing injured players, and throwing crap at guys being carted off the field

  30. Targeting is done with the intent to injure. As injuries are a frequent occupational hazard of playing within the rules targeting should be severely penalized and the NFLPA and the players it protects should support the same. Burfict got off easy with three games, he should have had at least four. As for Marvin Lewis he keeps getting a pass for how bad they have been and how far they have come. The fact that he has the most talent and done nothing with it when it matters is ignored. A monumental under acheiving team waiting to implode.

  31. floriohatesthebengals says:
    Jan 11, 2016 8:34 PM
    You’re in the media, florio. It’s so ridiculous how biased you are toward the Steelers. Football is becoming so soft. If Burfict played for the Steelers he would be praised for his play.

    Stop parroting that insane man, Trump.

  32. the real problem is the way Cincy teaches their players to aim for and hurt opposing players because they can’t win any other way..Cincy alone employees more felons than a prison work release program.

  33. Looking forward to the NFLPA appealing this one, thereby claiming the league isn’t being fair. But also looking forward to the justification this site will find to support the union, thereby placing all the blame on the league and the team for the actions of a grown man.

  34. The famous florio “scream it loud enough and long enough it becomes part of the record and therefore truth as Pittsburgh football talk wants us to see it”.

    The hit on roethlisberger was clean no matter what your ridiculous little vine shows.

  35. Adrian Peterson fumbles. Brett Favre threw soul crushing interceptions. Vontaze Burfict gets penalties and the occasional suspension.

    Burfict had a monster game, he might be the best linebacker in the nfl, or at least top three.

    The bengals have to decide whether the good is worth the headache.

  36. I get why he was flagged, but anyone (including members of the media) saying he “went after browns head” should probably double check how low Burfict went on the hit. If Brown hadnt been pushed from behind during the pass breakup, he would have taken a shoulder/forearm to the chest. Instead he was leaning forward and unfortunately in the line of fire. And at that angle, stretched out and defenseless, Vontaze could have hit him hard enough to break his kneck if thats what he was going after.

  37. rajtuli says:
    Jan 11, 2016 8:44 PM
    Enough already we get it. He is dirty and should be thrown out of the league. Find something else to write about for God’s sake.


    We could revisit the topic of air pressure and the Ideal Gas Law, if you prefer.

  38. Pftsliberalagenda says:

    As a practical matter please stop this the against burfict based solely on race


    the race card? really?


    the guy is an obvious cancer and Bengals management heads need to roll over this. They intentionally hired anther trainwreck head case and are surprised when he can’t control himself for one more play to win a playoff game

    up by 1 with less than a minute left at the 50ish and you spear a guy in the head with a helmet?!? When you know a suspension is coming on top of that?!!!! goodbye $700k or whatever… it should be goodbye NFL

    this is a management and coaching problem where they are addicted to hiring bums…. fire them all

  39. Should’ve been 4 games for the hit on Brown and 4 games for driving the knee into Big Ben’s shoulder.

    No one who knows anything about football has a problem with Burfict’s tackle on Ben. They should have a problem with the knee happening after the tackle was over.

    8 games total for Burfict and with appeal, maybe down to 6.

    The most amusing thing is I don’t even consider the Bengals to be the Steelers’ rivals. That crown belongs to the Ravens, the team that actually wins in the post season, not this one and done stuff. There’s nothing better than watching a good Steeler team face a good Raven team.

  40. As a bengals fan, we used to worry about which Steelers players were going to maim and wound any Bengals player ay any given time. From now on, at least they have to worry about the same and deservedly so. The Steelers are no longer the only bully in the AFC North playground.

  41. When are they going to announce the suspensions for Shazier for his hit which was just as bad along with Mitchell who has a more extensive history of these types of hits? I forgot, they are Steelers so they don’t even get flags for those.

  42. Out of control? STOP IT!

    The hit on brown was nothing. Sorry, but he didn’t target the head. He didn’t use his own helmet. And he actually let up. It was just making sure brown didn’t catch the ball. Is he supposed to stop and wait to see if brown catches the ball before moving in to deliver a shot? That’s insane if you think that way.

    The maxx Williams hit was dirty. No arguments there. He was fined heavily. And I saw nothing after that to suggest he didn’t learn from that situation.

    The “knee to ben’s shoulder is such a reach. He’s clearly trying to fight for the ball with his upper body. His lower body moves in order to make that happen. This was nothing like what we’ve seen ndamkung suh do.

    And of we’re talking about illegal hits… the first “defenseless receiver” penalty on bengals was horrible. Then the fact it was not called on the steelers for hit on Bernard is even more ridiculous. (Both cases the players took the same amount of steps. Had the ball for the same amount of time.). The only difference being the steelers defender actually used their helmet and made contact with the helmet. The bengals did not do either of those things. Yet bengals got flagged and steelers did not.

    Either way, we know NFL is getting what it wants. Peyton vs. Brady one last time!

  43. Burfect tackles Ben for a sack, while going for the ball diagnoses an AC joint injury and places his knee on Ben’ Shoulder and has the ball in the end zone in 2 seconds. He’s not only a great athlete but a genius as well.
    Do you know how ridiculous you all sound with this non story?

  44. Burfict seen the ball wasn’t caught took a few steps then leaned in for the target to the head. He had plenty of time to side step Brown completely. The guy was out of control the entire second and third game between these two teams. Driving his knee into Ben a couple plays after the Shazier hit and the Bengal sideline clearing is no coincidence. Classless act by a classless player in a classless city.

    I was sick and tired of the penalties and fines that Clark and Harrison were getting, Clark is out of the league and Harrison learned how to play within the rules, not something this knuckle dragger will ever learn.

  45. Just imagine if guys like Anquan Boldin and Hines Ward still played in the AFC North. Burfict’s career would have been over by now. The aforementioned WRs play(ed) the game the right way and don’t take crap from anyone.

  46. So many teams took Burfict off their draft boards, but the Bengals were smarter than everyone else. They must ne feeling pretty smart now. And Pacman Jones? When did he get out of jail?

  47. Markleyrules, there is no comparing the 2 hits. There is no history behind Shazier and dirty hits. Burfict has 14 personal fouls since coming into the league…a category he leads in during that time period. Mitchell does have defenseless player hits, but none had the intent that Burfict had when he drilled Brown in the head. His limp body just spun around.

    Stay classy Cincinnati

  48. Can’t believe Bungal fans are still trying to justify this psycho. After the atrocious behavior of not only the players but also the fans, we now know Cincinnati really is a jungle.

  49. If taking your team to the playoffs is the ultimate goal for Cincinnati then Marvin Lewis is your guy. However if you would like to win a playoff game or two start looking elsewhere. With that team and a relatively healthy roster you should be able to better than that.

  50. millikensteeler says:

    The tackle was clean, the driving his knee into his shoulder when he was getting up wasnt though was it?


    he clearly shifted left to get a clear shot at the top of the shoulder and hit him HARD… it was blatant

  51. No, the real question is why the NFL didn’t announce the $50,000 fine on Burfict for his hit on Williams last week? Why did they keep it secret? Why is it just coming out now? It’s a huge fine. I would have thought it would have been big news before this.

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