Before game, NFL tried to keep Steelers-Bengals from getting out of hand


During last Saturday night’s game between the Steelers and Bengals, the officials threw plenty of flags in an effort to control the game. (The failure to throw a flag on Pittsburgh linebackers coach Joey Porter may have decided the outcome.) Before the game, the NFL tried to ensure that the two teams would be on their best behavior.

It didn’t work.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the league office took multiple precautions in the days and hours preceding kickoff. First, notice was given to all players and coaches regarding the importance of good sportsmanship. Second, the league spoke to both head coaches before the game. Third, a video was sent on Monday of wild-card week regarding in-game behavior. Fourth, the officials were reminded to maintain control of the game. Fifth, the teams were told that, while no one wants a penalty or ejection to determine the outcome of a game, the officials will do what they have to do to ensure control. Sixth, the league reminded all coaches that they must maintain control of their sidelines and players, since behavior of players is a reflection of what coaches will tolerate.

The fact that these extreme precautions didn’t work shows that the NFL needs to do more, if the NFL truly wants to solve the problem. Given the gigantic audience that the Steelers-Bengals game delivered and the non-stop attention that the uglier moments of the game created (including attention given to those uglier moments by the NFL itself), maybe the right solution will be a solution that creates the impression that the NFL doesn’t condone such behavior, but that ultimately doesn’t end it.

44 responses to “Before game, NFL tried to keep Steelers-Bengals from getting out of hand

  1. So where are the fines for the head coaches & teams? Everyone knew the league wouldn’t do anything so they ignored the warnings. If the league fined or suspended the HCs, that would stand a chance of having an effect.

  2. The League may have set out Five Guidelines but they forgot the all important Sixth: We expect these Guidelines to be followed.

    Because no one bothered to follow any of them.

  3. Nfl looks the other way when it helps the patriots and steelers.

    Dean called down to add a facemask against the Broncos in a game from the booth but he couldn’t call down and tell the refs to stop handing the steelers a chip shot.

  4. Please all they did was ask nicely. THese are hardly extreme measures.

    The first penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct was against a coach. So clearly just telling coaches to behave and control their sidelines is not enough.

    Should have told them in no uncertain terms that all unsportsmanlike conduct penalties *would* result in an ejecytion. Then do it. The first one would have gotten everyone’s attention.

  5. Other than making money has anything the gang that can’t shoot straight tried to do that has worked out the way they intended?

  6. Immediate ejections of head coaches would send a pretty strong message. How many players want to be the guy that got the head coach kicked out of the game?

  7. I blame the officials more than anyone else although everyone involved shares some of the blame. It’s easy to fix. First you throw a couple of jerks out of the game. If that doesn’t stop it you add a coach or two. Eventually they will get the message.

  8. That appears to be more BS from the NFL. The Squealers are their favorites, and that exactly why the coaches who are suppose to set a good example, actually caused the game to get out of control. That and the obvious favoritism of the refs when it came to awarding the game to the Squealers, because of flags. It’s no big secret the Squealers are the direst team in NFL, and master of the cheap shot, but somehow they seldom get penalized, especially in 4 th Quarter.

  9. The game would have been kept in control by simply throwing a flag on the shazier hit on Bernard. That was the catalyst for everything spinning out of control.

  10. Instead of Just fining the players fine the coaches and the team as well… for flagrant penalties and for consistent repeat offenders subtract the fine amount from the following years cap space. If professional football players and coaches are unable to act professionally they should probably look for a new profession…

  11. Failure to allow Shazier to return the TD could have decided the game too.

    If you watch, Porter wasn’t even saying anything to Pacman when he took a swing at him.


    Failure to call the obvious penalty on Shazier may have decided the game. If they call the proper 15 yard penalty the Bengals have the ball inside Pittsburgh 10. Instead the refs gave the ball to the steelers.

    And I don’t care about defenseless receiver, the rule on leading wroth the crown in your helmet has been pastep here enough.

  12. Why do you keep pushing that porter should have been flagged. Every time there is an injury there are coaches all over the field. Never have I seen a flag before. Never have I heard people call for one before. Next you are going to start pointing out all the possible holding calls that occur on every play and say that effected the outcome.

  13. whenwilliteverend says:
    Jan 16, 2016 7:01 PM

    They need to start ejecting players. That will put a stop to the nonsense.


    Yep. Toss ’em. Also, this offsetting unsportsmanlike/personal foul foolishness needs to be done away with. If you get offsetting penalties, do it like the NHL does. Put ’em in a penalty box for a minute or five. The college rule where you get tossed for at least a half for spearing is also worth looking into.

  14. Teams owned by the following CONSISTENTLY get preferential treatment from the league:


    It’s no secret.

    It’s completely obvious.

    It’s just the way it is.

    Go Raiders

  15. Funny…..Burfict terminated the Stoolers…….Antonio Brown, Leweedeon Bell, and Big Jen. They have zero chance in Denver. Roethlisburger will tap out in the first half. Book it !

  16. As an NFL fan with no horse in this race, I’ve got to admit that I was riveted to that game for exactly what happened. It was especially entertaining watching 2 idiots with known attitude problems literally cost their team the game just for being said idiots! It doesn’t matter what you achieved all year when you 2 fools hand the game to Pitt because you’re stupid. Any legit plays Burfict made to get the Bengals into position to win were meaningless because he’s really to dumb to play the game right.

  17. Ya the nfl favors the steelers , that’s why they haven’t been to the super bowl recently , you people are pathetic , bunch of whiners . The game is over both teams acted like idiots. Plain and simple . Porter got shoved from behind by a Bengal while making sure his wr was ok but we shouldn’t talk about that

  18. As a boxing fan, I can say I have not been in or seen a fight where the refs didn’t say they wanted a good clean fight.

    This game was pretty clean.

    If the NFL really wanted clean, they could have clean like the UFC does. The NFL wants edgy and marketable. They got that.

    Any claim that the NFL got anything less than they wanted is misguided at best.

  19. Why is the league working so hard to cya on this game? The game’s been over a week and they’re still leaking information. If I didn’t already think the wrong team won that game I’d be thinking the wrong team won that game.

  20. Why do you keep pushing that porter should have been flagged. Every time there is an injury there are coaches all over the field. Never have I seen a flag before. Never have I heard people call for one before. Next you are going to start pointing out all the possible holding calls that occur on every play and say that effected the outcome.


    Because in this case Porter is not only on the field, but starting trash talk with the opposing team. Something he’s known to do even dating back to his days as a Steelers player. So yeah, when the coaches are on the field for the actual well being of the injured player then maybe the rule gets overlooked sometimes. Kinda like how your not supposed to walk down the street with open containers, but when I go to games I see tons of people drinking a beer on the walk to the stadium from tailgating. If you aren’t an idiot starting trouble, the cops leave you alone.

  21. Could have been easy. Just ban Bufichit forever. He is the only reason for the problem. Anyone not believing that is in denial.

  22. Jan 16, 2016 7:35 PM
    Everyone is so jealous of the Steelers. Haters.

    Patriots’ fans aren’t jealous of The steelers…. Brady and BB own The steelers.

  23. If you are too scared of the effect ejecting a player will have in the game, than i guess we need a penalty box for NFL games. Make a player sit out a couple of possessions. After that, eject them

  24. When Bernard was down there were more than nine Bengals coaches and staff on the field – that would have been at least 135 yards in penalties at one time. Why were those penalties not called ? Or were those folks allowed on the field just like Porter was ?

    Why was Shazier given the fumble recovery but not the TD run back ?

    Why was Burfict not called/ejected for unnecessary roughness/unsporting conduct when he slammed his knee into Ben’s rib cage while he was on top of him ?

    Penalty yards
    Pittsburgh: 142
    Cincinnati: 79

  25. Nobody is going to listen to the League until somebody that means something to one of the teams gets tossed. On top of that, the players need to call out teammates who do some stupid things that cost them the game. I’ve heard nothing from ANY player calling out Burfict or Jones for giving away 30 yards and the game.

    Maybe something was said behind closed doors, but if you’re going to complain about players hurting the team, we fans also need to know the rest of the team isn’t standing for it. We’ve heard nothing of the sort.

  26. The real story here is the bengals got completely screwed out if this game and the nfl has said nothing. Those officials screwed a whole city and didn’t even pay for a cab ride home.

  27. Your team fumbled, bumped a ref, and intentionally targeted the head of a WR all in the last 2 minutes of a playoff game you had in control. Bengal fans have been crying all week while never owning the fact that your out of control team blew it. The jealousy of teams like the Steelers, Pats, and Giants is very entertaining from this side of the fence.

  28. clevelandisahole says: Porter said nothing. Unless he can talk with his mouth closed. Watch the video.
    Yep, nothing ever happens unless captured on video. But I did see his “mission accomplished” wide smirk when touched and flag thrown. THEN he quietly walked away.

  29. Maybe had the NFL done it’s job correctly and suspended Burfict for his blatantly cheap hit in the Baltimore game the week before none of what went on would have happened? Instead, the Cincinnati Bengals looked like fools and the NFL’s integrity meter dropped another notch.

    Nice role models you have there with Burfict and Pacman Jones…

  30. Meanwhile coaches that are supposed to be held to a higher standard and set the tone for behavior by players are let off the hook. The NFL fined Munchak 10k and Tomlin 10k, obviously coaches aren’t held to really any kind of standard and obviously it has and will always be about the ratings which in turn produces all that (que Johnny Football) $$$$

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