More fines likely from Steelers-Bengals game, but not suspensions

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The NFL’s announcement that Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict has been suspended for the first three games of the 2016 season carries with it a very strong implication regarding other players and coaches who did things they shouldn’t have done: It’s unlikely that anyone else will be suspended.

That’s particularly true for Steelers players and coaches, who play in Denver on Sunday. If anyone from Pittsburgh is going to be suspended for Sunday, a suspension would have come on Monday.

But the NFL made it clear in the announcement of Burfict’s suspension that further discipline is possible, for players and for coaches. Bengals cornerback Pacman Jones made contact with an official; regardless of the reason, that’s something that could result in a fine. Likewise, Steelers assistant coaches Mike Munchak and Joey Porter could be fined.

Munchak drew a flag for a sideline confrontation with Bengals safety Reggie Nelson. Referee John Parry said Munchak pushed Nelson; the video suggests that Munchak pulled Nelson’s hair. Porter was on the field following linebacker Vontaze Burfict’s illegal hit on receiver Antonio Brown, allegedly chirping at Bengals players — and loitering to interact with Bengals players after Brown was leaving the field.

61 responses to “More fines likely from Steelers-Bengals game, but not suspensions

  1. Seriously… that’s it? If that game included the Pats it would have been 100% worse. Guess the NFL can’t have Mr. Rooney and Mr. Brown’s tighty whities all in a twist.

  2. The Steelers come into every game with chippy attitude and dare the other team to knock that chip off of their shoulder. I guess it’s their way of getting into the opposing teams head, in this case, it certainly worked against the Bengals.

  3. When viewing the replay, I thought it looked as though Munchak stepped in to stop Nelson’s forward progress and inadvertently got his hand tangled in Nelson’s hair. Then Nelson pushed him. Munchak didn’t seem to be initiating an altercation.

    Whatever Porter may have said, how can you fine one assistant for going on the field to check an injured player when you’ve never fined other assistants in that situation?

    Some of Shazier’s behavior may have warranted a fine.

  4. Not a Steeler or Bengal fan but how bout a little dose of reality. 18 former steelers have died prematurely since 2000. A team doctor in jail for selling steroids, steroid abuse running rampant on the team in the 70’s. Google your team cheats to see the steelers have cheated more than any other NFL team but Denver. Hope it’s all worth it steeler fans, as many former players have paid a heavy price for “steeler success”

  5. There is so much video and so many angles of these plays. Porter is standing with his hands in his pockets, as brown and the trainer walk off the field, burfict attempts to speak to Antonio, and in doing so slightly pushes the trainer, Porter says something to burfict, I’m sure he’s not exchanging recipies, and then gillberry comes up behind Porter and bumps him hard enough to move him, then the bengals surround Porter, and burfict grabs porters jacket, then that’s when jones does his thing. So taken as a whole, even if Porter shouldn’t have been on the field the actual touching and hands on shoving started with burfict, and gillberry. You can make the argument all day about whether or not Porter should be on the field, but it’s a hard argument to make when all season coaches come out on the field during an injury, and in this game alone, in the 3rd qtr at least 9 bengals coaches come out onto the field when hill starts an altercation after the shazier hit.
    As for munchak there are two great angles of this play. It starts with toussant stiff arming Nelson prior to going out of bounds. Nelson rides toussant 6-7 yards out of bounds, then depending on which video you watch, you clearly see munchak trying that to stop Nelson’s momentum, and you see Nelson instead take a step towards toussant and not back to the field, that’s when munchak pulls Nelson back away from toussant. And no point does munchak reach out and grab Nelson’s hair. You see his left hand holding his play sheet, get tangled in Nelson’s hair during the point he tried to slow Nelson’s momentum.
    There was more than enough shoving by both teams, peko coming onto the field off th bench to push William Gay, shazier said hit of Bernard with the crown of his helmet, Burficts knee to bens shoulder, burfict trying to stomp on fosters foot, burfict spitting on decastro, decastro pancakes get burfict and the two of them tussling at goal line, the incorrect penalty on the Wheaton hit. James Harrison and suh have been called dirty, but from what I’ve seen from burfict the past few season, not to even mention the hit last week against the Ravens, the guy has issues.

  6. Watch the video people. Burfict, Gilberry and Jones are the ones who went out of their way to get Porter’s business. He was following AB and the trainers OFF THE FIELD when Burfict cut in front of him. If the Bengal hothead’s had just stayed away from AB and the trainers walking off the field NOTHING would have happened.

  7. Jan 11, 2016 9:23 PM

    When viewing the replay, I thought it looked as though Munchak stepped in to stop Nelson’s forward progress and inadvertently got his hand tangled in Nelson’s hair

    that’s what I thought until I saw the slow motion. Baloney, he grabbed his hair intentionally. Why? who know, but it has no accident. claiming it is justifies this type of bad behavior hang both teams are guilty of it but that doesn’t excuse hair pulling by a coach. This is a team where a coach tried to pass off an intentional trip as an accident. It doesn’t puss me off that they did it as much as them telling me I should buy this pantload of an excuse.

  8. As a person who watched that game it seemed like there numerous infractions on both sides. It would be extremely unfair of the NFL not to also punish Mr. Rooney’s team.

  9. I’m fine with whatever punishments are handed out. There was crap from both teams during this game, just like the last matchup between them.

  10. This is a team where a coach tried to pass off an intentional trip as an accident.

    I’d put more stock in your opinion if you knew Tomlin never tripped anyone. He stepped out into the running lane, but he never made contact with the runner and didn’t hinder his runback. Yes, I thought it was a bush-league thing to do and was beyond furious with him. He deserved the $100,000 fine and then some. But that has nothing to do with this game or whether Munchak got tangled in Nelson’s hair.

  11. Shazier stomping around the field trying to provoke the crowd after injuring Bernard–legal hit or not–was fine-worthy. I’m a diehard Steelers fan, but I’m not going to sugarcoat bad behavior just to make my fellow fans happy.

  12. Steelers fans are missing one key aspect: Porter had no business being on the field in the first place. It’s trainers and the Head Coach allowed out there, occasionally maybe the position coach. The Linebackers coach has no business standing on the field when a receiver is being attended to.

  13. This is NOT the first time a Steelers coach has drawn a flag or a fine.

    Tomlin was lucky it was not worse. His explanation for the situation completely fell apart when on replay you can see him watch the jumbotron on the return and THEN wander in the way when it would have had the worst effect. No he didn’t trip him, but he DID impede the path of the runner. Hence the $100K fine.

    Coaching staffs have done stupid stuff for a while. Coaches making a wall on the sideline to make special team returns more difficult. Hell a Jets strength coach got in the way of a dolphin, and then it became common knowledge a lot of teams tried to do similar things. At least they did fire the guy.

    Given that now another coach got a flag and porter should have gotten one, I do hope its like a 100K fine for each. Coaches do need to be held to a higher standard.

    Does anyone really want to see Bill Belichick run out to the field, say something, then run for his life while a player tries to hit him, with each juke drawing another flag?

    Hence they gotta just shut this down now.

  14. I think the NFL should start ejecting players for some of this stuff to show that it won’t be tolerated. Just giving these guys a fine is a joke. As far as percentage of salary goes, that’s probably like fining someone who makes minimum wage a nickel. Once they start ejecting them a lot of this bad behavior will go away. Except Burfict and Pacman are so stupid they’d probably never play a full game because someone like Courtland Finegan would probably bait them to do something stoopid which they are all too wiling to oblige.

    If the NFL doesn’t want a replay of that game to happen, ejections and suspension are going to have to start happening and I mean early in the season and early in games. If they are so worried about the image of the league, games like that can’t happen.

    I wish they could do something about the fans throwing stuff on the field. Those fans should be arrested and face harsh penalties.

  15. What???

    Deb is “objectively” excusing Steelers’ scum bag behavior?

    Say it ain’t so…


    You might try actually reading the thread … if reading is part of your skillset.

  16. Burfects suspension is too light. He should have been ejected. Porter, Munchak should also be suspended. And the refs who failed to enforce the rules, should be fired. The past two years have been the worst in terms of officiating.

  17. How can any fan complain about Porter being on the field, after seeing the screen shot of 9 Bengal coaches on the field? You see it every game when a player is seriously injured, coaches come on to the field players come on to the field. I get it, you believe that it’s porters fault burfict and jones made their boneheaded decisions. Your looking for a reason why those two players lost control. But when you watch the whole 22 video, you see it’s burfict and gillberry who initiate the contact with Porter. There were 3 refs standing right there and not one of them gave any indication Porter said or did anything to provoke gillberry and burfict or jones. The argument just doesn’t hold water when you review the bengals coaches on the field, and the fact it happens every game.

  18. It was reported that Porter got the game ball–goes to show you what is celebrated and condoned over there and what level of control Tomlin doesn’t have. He’s just a step above Lewis in the “inmates run the asylum” category.

  19. whodey83
    Jan 11, 2016, 9:40 PM EST
    Hey Joey – maybe it’s time to grow up and go by Joe. Or Josephine.”

    You might try growing up and quit calling a 40 yr old man (who could beat you senseless) a girls name.

  20. Knute’s Knuggets says: Porter was “chirping” Florio? Cute little birds chirp you diminutive little biased twit of a Rooney-rimmer.
    That was so insightful of a comment I made it my new handle!

  21. kick them out to.they are cheaters. Tomlin was fine few years ago he cheats and he teaches the players.

  22. Can’t wait til they line up in 2016. Will be a blood bath! Hopefully they play first game after week 3 so that Burfict gets two chances at them.

  23. Unlike so many of the jokers posting here I’m not going to pretend to be objective. I’m a Steelers fan and that certainly colors my viewpoint just as your fandom colors your viewpoint. Let’s keep it real as they say.

    But I at least *try* to be objective. If Shazier’s hit is deemed by the league to have been illegal, he should be fined. Munchak? No. If you watch the video, particularly in real-time and not some slo-mo dissection, he didn’t do anything wrong but just reacted to a player coming full charge in his direction way out of bounds. Porter? No. Look at the video and you will find at least a dozen Bengals staff and coaches all over the field during the Bernard injury, yet somehow no Steelers players felt the need to instigate confrontations with them.

    Burfict has a long history of petulant and dangerous behavior, and so does Jones, and half of what they did in this game was not penalized. They are simply punks and that’s the truth. Post-game Shazier apologized to Bernard, meanwhile PacMan went on obscenity laced rants and Burfict stood his ground behind his horrible behavior. That’s all you need to know about the comparative character of these people.

    Further, the Bengals as a team should be punished for their failure to control their own stadium, with disgraceful behavior by the fans cheering an injury to a player who did nothing to justify it, and throwing beer cans and water bottles at the opponents. No better than soccer hooligans.

    If this kind of behavior passes by without serious punishment, it will happen to your favorite team next. And if the Bengals want to ever be a champion rather than a pretender, they need to get their house in order as this kind of team cancer is not sustainable.

  24. Game got out of control. When that happens with two dozen violent guys on a field, you see things like Saturday night. The greatest error on the night was made by league in allowing same head ref from December game when things also got way out of hand.

    Everyone knows that Burfict and Pacman are out of control except maybe Marv Lewis. Pittsburgh baited Burfict the whole game with kicks to his leg (flagged), flagrant late hits (DeCastro, not flagged), and ongoing taunting (Joey Porter for one, not flagged). Actually, Burfict did a nice job not responding. We’ll never know if the late hit on AB was intentional. It looked like Burfict tried to turn a bit at the last second, and AB’s helmet hit him in the backside of the left shoulder. It was a penalty tho and def was stupid.

    In the end Bungles aren’t ready to win in playoffs and would have taken a real beating in NE next weekend. Might as well see if Steelers can beat Denver and whether AB was really faking. If he recovers to play in Denver, there will be little question whether he was.

    Steelers fans who are anti-Burfict need to look at their own team too. Shazier’s dance on the Bengals emblem at midfield (specifically defined as Unsportsmenlike Conduct in the NFL rule book and not called), Shazier’s crown to the helmet of Bernard (illegal, not called), DeCastro’s late hit and take down on Burfict in front of refs (not called), Joey Porter’s entry to field and taunting (not called), Munchak pushing and pulling Nelson’s hair (called), the OL’s kick to Burfict’s leg (called) all characterize how Pittsburgh won.

    Hats off to Ben Roethlisberger tho. That guy is one-of-a-kind amazing. Hope both teams really get their acts straightened out for 2016 games. It’s really no fun watching a game marred by that crap.

  25. Anyone who thinks Tomlin tried to trip Jacoby Jones is really daffy. First of all, there was no trip, not even close. The dummy was just not paying attention to where he was standing. He was appropriately fined but let’s not confuse a brain cramp with malice.

    As for that silly post about the Steelers of the 70s being on steroids, that’s another false meme put forward by people with an agenda. Almost all of the steroid story is third party speculation. The 70s dynasty was simply better than everyone else in a pre-CBA era when that was still possible. Not a single HOF player is known or suspected to have been on steroids. The only two players I’m aware of who used were Rocky Bleier (legitimately in treatment of his injuries sustained in Viet Nam) and a second tier inconsequential offensive lineman, Steve Courson, whose usage dated to high school and was not something introduced to him by the Steelers. He played a few games for them at the tail end of the 70s but was not a meaningful part of the dynasty. Courson himself stated that the Steelers stars, such as Lambert and Ham, refused to touch the stuff.

    But if it makes you feel better to go with the narrative that they were cheaters, it’s a free country.

  26. Deb says:
    Shazier stomping around the field trying to provoke the crowd after injuring Bernard–legal hit or not–was fine-worthy. I’m a diehard Steelers fan, but I’m not going to sugarcoat bad behavior just to make my fellow fans happy.

    Thank you. I feel like most Bengals fans are plenty willing to admit that Burfict deserved a suspension (4 games, in my opinion, not 3), but there seems to be an absolute dearth of Steelers fans willing to admit that anyone on their team did anything wrong whatsoever.

    At this point I’m not particularly bitter about the loss (I mean, we’re used to it at this point), and I’m certainly not at all bitter about the Burfict suspension, but I am more than a little salty at the double standards.

  27. Shazier was celebrating his TOUCHDOWN – which ended up erroneously not counting since they blew the whistle.

  28. @gorn by any other name ..

    “Post-game Shazier apologized to Bernard”? Didn’t know this. It wouldn’t keep him from being fined for his on-field behavior, but I’m glad to hear he took the high road–especially since Jones and Burfict have continued to blame others for their behavior.

    As for those complaining about the DeCastro/Burfict altercation … Burfict spit on DeCastro. I don’t think an All Pro lineman with no history of behavior problems will be fined for reacting to that.

  29. “but there seems to be an absolute dearth of Steelers fans willing to admit that anyone on their team did anything wrong whatsoever.”

    Not true. Gay and Dupree should not have acted like goofballs in the end zone. Shazier’s hit probably should elicit a fine. He also shouldn’t have celebrated, but he was celebrating the turnover not the injury. It was in bad taste. I’m sure there are a couple of other things here and there.

    But it’s a matter of scale. Burfict is the dirtiest player I’ve seen in at least 30 years. He is clearly intent on injuring players at every opportunity and every team. PacMan is an idiot with a long history of trouble. Nelson isn’t far behind.

  30. I get being a fan and supporting ones team but what I can’t is the general inability to criticize players who try to hurt or possibly end another players livelihood.

    I’m not a Bengals nor Steelers fans but I love football. When we look at how difficult it is to find franchise players in any position you have to ask why shouldn’t we protect them?

    Any players intentionally injuring other should be suspended and then kicked out with repeated offenses

  31. Deb, this is Shazier’s tweet:

    Never been out to hurt ppl. Praying @G_Bernard25 recovers well. Respect you as a player and love playing against you. #Respect #Lauderdale

    Yes of course it should not get him out of a fine if the league deems it appropriate. But try to imagine Burfict tweeting something like this to any of the dozen players he’s cheap-shotted in his goon career.

  32. dexx57 says: Jan 11, 2016 10:41 PM
    “Terrible pro steelers propaganda, Munchak and Porter should be fined”

    Well thanks for that deep analysis. Now I’m convinced since you said so.

  33. Munchak did nothing to warrant a fine.

    Porter is the same guy that jumped Levi Jones in Vegas with 3 or 4 friends. Go figure.

    The Steelers problem is they have high profile headhunting history vs the Bengals: Rivers/Huber/Eifert/Bernard. This team seems to be fed up. Good luck next week.

  34. None of this would have happened if the league would have controlled the teams from the first game of the year. A Steelers player threatening to murder a Bengals player on social media and everyone is amazed at how that man reacts, wanting to hit everyone on that team anywhere and everywhere as hard as he can.

  35. cymbaline6 says: I feel like most Bengals fans are plenty willing to admit that Burfict deserved a suspension.


    You should invite these fans to come post here sometime.

  36. The video doesn’t “suggest” that Munchak pulled Nelson’s hair, it shows Munchak pulling his hair.
    Seriously? We get a six-second, ultra-zoomed vine of Burfict’s knee making contact with Ben’s shoulder, and that’s supposed to prove that he “gave Ben the business,” but just regular video of a guy pulling another guy’s hair and we can’t conclude that said first guy pulled said second guy’s hair?
    Sorta seems like you are slipping into lawyer mode to protect the Steelers, tbh.

  37. Possibly my favorite moment on replay was the Steelers lineman jumping into the air and doing a fist pump when Porter drew the flag on Jones to put them in field goal range. You know, because who wants to win a game because you’re the better team? Better to win via the whims of historically bad officials who’ve been drawing national attention for incompetence for the past several years.

  38. Not a Steelers or a Bengals fan here. I watched the game. I watched the replay several times. Burfict’s hit was totally unnecessary. He could have pulled up. He purposely lowered his shoulder and went for the “kill shot”. BUT Joey Porter had no business on the field. You can talk about coaches concern for a player and all that. If you watch the replay which is available on YouTube, as Brown is walking off the field, Burfict reaches in and pats him on the shoulder. Pretty sure it wasn’t to wish him a happy new year. Porter who was walking behind Brown, stops, turns and steps toward Burfict. If Porter was really concerned about his player, he would have pushed through and continued towards the bench. He knew what he was doing, he was hoping to get Burfict to snap. His plan didn’t work, but Jones did snap. Porter was out there for one reason only, to instigate. He should be fined and suspended, and the team as a whole should be fined too.

  39. So, the entire Bengals staff, along with Joey Porter, will also be fined for being unnecessarily on the field when #25 was hurt? And #95 will be fined for shoving Joey Porter when he was attending to Brown, instigating all the talking?

    Let’s just make sure to get all the incidents under the microscope before levying the taxes.

  40. Hey, spyboots!! Good to see you back!

    The whistle was blown long before Shazier reached the end zone. In fact, he stopped running before reaching the end zone. He knew he didn’t score a touchdown. The behavior I’m referencing occurred on the sidelines.

    Thanks for sharing the tweet, gorn! Obviously there’s a world of difference between Shazier and Jones 🙂

  41. Didn’t he try to hyper-extend the defender’s elbow when they locked arms? That was wrong for a coach to try to deliberately injure a player.

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