By now we've all seen this a million times.
Cassius Marsh was called for a taunting penalty on what would have been 4th-and-15. The late flag came with Pittsburgh's punting unit on the field.
We've all also seen the subsequent press conference multiple times.
Full disclosure: for reasons Jerry has hammered into everybody's head plenty, I'm no fan of this guy. I think he's a bum, and I think he looks like Nickelback's Chad Kroeger.
THAT SAID, he was 100% scapegoated in this entire thing and the Bears were fucked. Plain and simple. You knew, I knew, everybody knew it. Even Steelers fans admitted, "shit, that's really bad."
And the worst part? That call wasn't even the worst one that went against the Bears costing them.
No, the worst one came on the bullshit low block penalty on the Bears that negated a Justin Fields touchdown pass.
You take points off the board, it better be irrefutable and conclusive as fuck, and it better be egregious enough that it affected how the play unfolded.
The NFL got absolutely roasted after this game, and rightfully so.
So what did they do?
What they always do. They took control of the narrative, internally, within their own make-believe officiating review board, and said they'd essentially get back to us.
Well, I'll be a horse's uncle, they actually did…
At 5am THIS Sunday morning.
NFL.com - The NFL is standing behind Monday night's controversial taunting call against Bears linebacker Cassius Marsh, affirming it Friday with a fine.
But privately, members of the NFL's officiating department who reviewed the game acknowledged that referee Tony Corrente and his crew erred on at least three separate critical calls and non-calls that went against Chicago in that 29-27 loss -- including a low block penalty on the Bears that nullified a Justin Fields touchdown pass, sources familiar with the league's thinking said.
Officials also missed multiple penalties by the Steelers, including a late hit on Fields that would've given the Bears first-and-goal on the same third-quarter drive and offsides by multiple Steelers on Cairo Santos ' 65-yard field goal attempt that fell short as time expired.
So that means they basically admitted, yah we took several scores off the board, and extended several Steelers' drives, all of which would have undoubtedly affected the outcome of what was a two-point loss…
This head official, Tony Corrente, another one of those old school Italian refs following the great line of Gene Steratore, and Anthony Sacco.
Now, even for being an Italian American elder, I still think this guy is a disgrace. And not because he sucks at his job.
Now again, no disrespect to an Italian American here, and not to be a bigot, but there's no way Tony and his crew weren't on the take in this one.
It was too much. Too obvious. Too blatant.
First you had that low block call on what was an easy TD. Ripped 4 points clear off the board.
The Steelers also benefited from a change in rules regarding low blocks, as such calls were previously forbidden only in the tackle box. Now, it's the "tight end box."
Although Watt appeared to be inside the tight end box when Daniels went low to block him, Corrente said he was outside the tight end box.
“The new rule this year is there should be no contact below the waist to any player outside of the tight end box. And this player initiated low contact to a player outside the tight end box,” Corrente said.
It also wasn’t even clear if Daniels ever touched Watt. Replay angles were inconclusive, but Watt appeared to avoid Daniels. If there was any contact, it was incidental. But Corrente didn’t see it that way.
“I have to judge that there was contact, and that’s what I judged,” Corrente said.
It was just insulting over the next two plays, as Fields got hit hard and late. The officials swallowed their whistles for those plays, leaving the Bears to settle for kicking 3.
And it was ALL game. Not just the ones the NFL actually acknowledged.
(sidebar - I honestly think where some of the extreme lack of awareness with these dinosaur refs comes, is the fact that they were doing this back in the day before replays, challenged calls, and HDTV. They got away with murder and it's just ingrained now.)
Then there was this RIDICULOUS no-call on about 4 guys lined up in the neutral zone and who jumped the snap on Santos' kick as time expired.
This kick fell wicked short, and wasn't even close, but if offsides gets called, you move him up 5 more yards for a rekick and who knows? Or you're 5 yards closer for a Fields hail mary.
Bottom line is it's just a joke. If the Bears get blown out by 20 then who gives a shit. But this was a 2 point game where every single one of these things adds up big time.
Billy blogged it on Tuesday morning, and called it a conspiracy.
And I don't disagree. They've gotta stop letting refs dictate outcomes of games. It's becoming the norm and it's ruining the sport not just from a competitive level but from an entertainment perspective as well. Nobody wants to watch these guys grandstand and insert themselves into the game. Start canning the shit ones, like Corrente's crew, instead of carrying water for them and protecting them like Ginger Satan and co. did here, and the message will be heard loud and clear. "Don't toss a flag or blow a whistle unless you're willing to stand behind the call."
You know? Just like any other job in the world that's based on merit. Not tenure. You do a shit job you're gone. You do a good job, you stick around and get promoted.
Also, let's stop hiring senior citizen insurance salesmen to do this job and hire full-time, former college players, who are in great shape, and go through training courses every year. Full time. Not part-time. You're a corporation that did FIFTEEN BILLION in revenue last year.
Start acting like it.