Nick Sirianni: Taunting penalty was unacceptable, that falls on me

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Philadelphia Eagles
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Perhaps the most significant of this NFL season’s many taunting penalties happened in the fourth quarter on Thursday night, when Philadelphia’s Genard Avery gave up 15 yards and an automatic first down for taunting Leonard Fournette. That gave the Bucs their initial first down in what turned into a six-minute game-ending drive.

Many observers thought Avery shouldn’t have been flagged, but Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni said he’s not putting it on the officials. Instead, Sirianni says he needs to do a better job coaching players not to put themselves in a position where they even give the officials a chance to flag them for taunting.

“That’s first on me,” Sirianni said. “I’ve got to do a better job of cleaning up all those things. We know we can’t make those self-inflicted wounds. I know that, they know that, we’ll continue to harp on that, we’ll continue to work to get it right. But again, that was unacceptable, and that falls on me first. So I’ve got to do a better job of getting everybody doing the right things out there, and keeping our composure out there.”

Right or wrong, the NFL’s taunting emphasis has been made very clear to every player and coach in the league, and at this point, players need to know not to say or do anything that an official might flag. Privately, Sirianni probably had some harsh words for Avery, but Sirianni is also acknowledging publicly that it’s up to the coach to make sure his players don’t make such mental mistakes.

35 responses to “Nick Sirianni: Taunting penalty was unacceptable, that falls on me

  1. Eagles are the most penalized team in the NFL, just one of the many problems with this downtrodden, bottom feeder, top 5 draft pick in 2022 team. Sorry Philly fans the cavalry isn’t coming with whatever draft picks this team gets. You could give Howie & Jeffery 10 first round picks in the 2022 draft and they’d take a bunch of stiffs.

  2. I think it’s silly to expect players to be hyper-competitive and then act surprised when there’s some trash talking between plays. Does anyone really believe that trash talking didn’t happen in the old days (and the old old days?).

    There should be a limit to what is acceptable, but there have already been too many bad calls made this season. How about focus on calling all the real penalties that don’t get a flag?

  3. Make the tackle turn around and go back to your huddle.

    Eagles fans can’t complain about this penalty when you get two PI calls worth 90 yards. Without those you’re never in the game.

    That QB is trash. They better try and trade for Watson.

  4. Bad call in my opinion. I feel the NFL puts the refs in a difficult situation each year with rues that are subjective without clear parameters. this was taunting but Watkins gets mugged in the endzone on a pass and no call. It is time for the NFL to spend some money and hire, and train, full time officials.

  5. The fact that it is this difficult to get players to not taunt during a game is remarkable. It really is. It is so ingrained into the minds of these “look at me” meat heads, that they simply cant refrain. Its an extension of the celebration after every play. My favorite is when a cornerback gets torched, and then the QB over throws the WR, and the CB does the “incomplete” arm motion, followed by standing there with crossed arms. Bro, you did nothing but get torched, go back to the huddle. So then when they actually do make a play, now that celebration has to be kicked waaaaay up, 15 yards later…

  6. I thought this was a little ticky tacky based on what I saw. I don’t know what was said, though and it looked like Avery said SOMETHING. That being said, I know the refs called two long DPI on the Bucs, but there was about 4 more DPI calls missed against the Bucs. And also what was the unsportsmanlike conduct call on Miles Sanders? It was never shown. Never even really called by the refs. Just after a play Troy and Buck were like ‘Oh, there was an unsportsman like on Miles Sanders moving them back 15 yards.’ and that was that.

  7. Just a bad penalty. Even without taunting you cant headbutt your opponent. As small as it may be they have to draw the line somewhere. Guy blew a chance for the game.

  8. If you look at the stats or watched the game, it was nowhere near as close as the score might lead you to believe. That’s somewhat skewed by two very long pass interference penalties by Tampa but if Jalen Hurts can’t throw the ball against that secondary down Carlton Davis, Sean Murphy-Bunting, Richard Sherman, and Antione Winfield I’m not sure who he can throw against.

  9. Brady elbowing Barrette on interception not being mentioned. Should have been ejection. Imagine reaction if roles had been reversed

  10. Terrible call. Fournette initiated mild contact, no need for a call. Avery was already talking and the bump definitely encouraged him to continue. Did the ref need to make that call? No, she did not. But, she’s a new ref, enforcing the rule to the letter. The coach is correct, players have to know better than to put the game in the hands of an official when there is clearly no need.

  11. Stupid play, stupid penalty, stupid rule. That said, you’re paid millions to play the game and know the rules. People’s jobs are on the line.

  12. It’s pretty clear from the body language in the replay that Fournette jumped up and initiated the trash talk. Avery just stands over him- it doesn’t even appear that he says ANYTHING. His mouthgaurd stays firmly fixed in his mouth the whole time.

    The refs have to eat the whistle there, directive or no directive. Nobody, not the Eagles, not the Bucs, nobody, wants games potentially decided like this.

  13. The bonehead penalty had no bearing on the game. It didn’t run time off the clock. The Bucs averaged 5.5 yards per play and no trouble killing the clock. If anything, by making the field shorter it almost forced the Bucs to have to score again and kickoff.
    Not sure it was ‘taunting’ but it was definitely unsportsmanlike.

  14. The Eagles weren’t going to win this game no matter what. Brady was just toying with them and the Bucs could have put up a lot more points than they did.

  15. The official was literally standing right there when Avery said it. They had to flag it. The NFL put that rule in and it was made clear to every coach and player that would be a flag this year. That rule wasn’t a Goodell decision either. It was a coaches subcommittee that has guys like Andy Reid and Sean McVay on it that pushed for the rule change. And the competition committee approved it. Blame those coaches on the committees if you feel it shouldn’t be.a flag.

  16. I’m likely drunk right now says:

    October 15, 2021 at 8:25 am

    Like most taunting penalties, it was a BS call

    You might not like the rule but it wasnt a bs call. Avery stepped towards him and jawed as Fournette got up and then Fournette sold it by putting up his hands and essentially saying “see this” to the ref about Avery. It was a smart move by Fournette because if he walks away theres likely no penalty and if he talks back at him it likely ends up offsetting penalty.

  17. Tabasco says:
    October 15, 2021 at 8:48 am

    I think it’s silly to expect players to be hyper-competitive and then act surprised when there’s some trash talking between plays. Does anyone really believe that trash talking didn’t happen in the old days (and the old old days?).


    How many of these penalties are there? Maybe one per game? That isn’t much. I have to believe that there are a ton of exchanges still going on throughout the game that are not being penalized.

    This emphasis is about toning it down, not completely eliminating it.

    As for your first point – there’s enthusiasm, celebration, and then there’s taunting. They’re different things. There’s nothing inherently natural about taunting, it’s just gotten so hyper-validated in our culture that we mistake it for natural behavior.

  18. Taunting is for immature jerks (and it is scary for society how many fans think taunting is ok) with lessor talent and fragile egos. The same guy who taunts DOESN’T go up to the guy who just faked him out of his jockstrap for a TD and says “Nice play man, I’ll get you next time.” They look around for someone to blame for their mistake.

    The REAL pros, the top end guys, do their jobs and celebrate their successes. You let your playing do the talking for you and when you fail to measure up you work harder.

  19. Please. Sirianni is responsible for a lot of things, such as a confusing game plan and almost ridiculous aversion to running the ball, but that penalty was not his fault. That “taunting” penalty was completely ridiculous in every way and changed the flow of the game. That seems like something that happens a lot, you know, a player makes a play and lets his opponent know about it. Seems like that’s part of what football is most of the time. The game was in question at that moment and that flag should have stayed in his pocket, period.

  20. A disciplinarian like Tom Coughlin would have cut Avery this morning. That’s what the Eagles need: DISCIPLINE

  21. I’d talk to my players, but I’d also talk to my personnel department. Mental errors cost you dearly. Teams should steer clear of guys who have trouble staying focused on football for 60 minutes. Just cross them off your list, and go to the next guy. One guy’s mental lapse can cost the entire organization. It’s just not fair to everyone who puts in all that work. You can see most of this stuff if you watch college tape. You have to keep your composure. Most of the time there are red flags in the scouting reports, but the decision makers ignored it. So you really need to have a meeting with everyone. You can’t teach guys to be smart. It’s better to just draft smart guys.

  22. It seemed like a pretty weak call, but those are the rules now.
    Someone was commenting on how Hurts couldn’t throw the ball downfield even with all of Tampa`s injuries in the secondary. I watched the majority of the 2nd half, even with a run game, it seemed like he was running for his life most plays.

  23. The NFL didn’t put the rule emphasis in it was the coaches (McVay, Shanahan, etc) who heard form other coaches all the way down to high school they want to stop this immature behavior. It is only the idiot coaches and moron players that get those penalties. And like last night it wasn’t like the Eagles player made any type of great play, just look at me for getting beat on a run play just pure stupidity.

  24. Holmgren’s frozen ‘stache says:
    October 15, 2021 at 9:10 am
    You weren’t getting the ball back, regardless.

    Easy to say a day later. The bucs stunk up the second half and Brady had nothing going. I say the opposite if that penalty isn’t called, the Eagles get the ball back and win another disastrous outing by them in the end. If they have any other head coach, that team has 4 wins. The Bucs D was hurting and will continue to hurt them.

  25. I don’t know.. seems like in a game where people are paid to hit, tackle, play with “nastiness” and edge and ACTUAL bones can be broken (and are broken), taunting seems like a dumb rule to enforce. Is it for the players’ feelings? The owners? The fans? The kids? I get that watching dudes excessively bragging isn’t a whole lot of fun.. but it’s a pretty rough sport already.. and these guys are in paid physical alterations for entertainment.. doesn’t a little taunting kinda come with that naturally?

  26. The Eagles are the most penalized team in the NFL. You’re right Nick, it’s on you. What are you going to do about it? Whatever you’ve may done through 6 games has been fruitless. You ask too much of Hurts, play calling is laughable and you’re in over your head. Rinse and repeat next season.

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