Steelers' Mike Tomlin Supports Taunting Penalties: 'Just Trying to Clean Our Game Up'

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVNovember 9, 2021

Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin meets with reporters following an NFL football game in Pittsburgh, Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021. The Steelers won 29-27. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said he supports the NFL's emphasis on taunting penalties after his team's 29-27 win over the Chicago Bears at Heinz Field on Monday.

Tomlin discussed the situation with reporters Tuesday after Pittsburgh benefitted from a taunting penalty late against Chicago:

"We're just trying to clean our game up. We embrace the responsibility that comes with being the role models that we are.
"This game being played at the highest level, we understand that people who play at a lower level watch us and often mimic the things we do and how we conduct ourselves and just largely as a league competition committee specifically, there was a desire to improve in that area. That's been expressed to our guys."

Bears linebacker Cassius Marsh was flagged for taunting in the fourth quarter of the Week 9 game, giving the Steelers a first down instead of a potential 4th-and-15. Pittsburgh went on to kick a field goal, which proved to be instrumental in the eventual two-point victory.

Some saw the call as controversial, but referee Tony Corrente justified the decision after the game, telling reporters that Marsh ran to the opposing bench after he sacked Ben Roethlisberger and "posture[d] in such a way" that appeared to be taunting.

Tomlin is a member of the NFL's competition committee, which voted to emphasize taunting during the 2021 season.

"We saw an increase in actions that clearly are not within the spirit and intent of this rule and not representative of respect due opponents and others on the field," NFL competition committee chairman Rich McKay said in August. "Game officials have been instructed to strictly enforce the taunting rules."

According to NFLPenalties.com, there have been 27 calls for taunting so far this season. The Steelers have been called for zero.