A Bears Defender Got Called For Taunting For…Walking Too Close To The Steelers Bench?

Being an official in any sport is an incredibly difficult and thankless job, but there are times where officiating crews insert themselves into a game to an unnecessary degree.

Some of this isn’t the fault of the officials, per se, but the leagues creating new points of emphasis or rules. There is no greater example of that than the NFL’s new taunting rules this season, which have led to some disastrous calls as officials have been asked to try and adjudicate emotion out of the game to a painful degree. On Monday night, the Bears found themselves on the wrong end of one of the worst taunting flags of the season, when Cassius Marsh helped Chicago get a big third down stop down three late in the fourth quarter to force a punt.

That was until he got flagged for taunting for…well, it was hard to figure out what exactly he did wrong. Marsh did a spinning kick celebration immediately after that didn’t draw anything and then he walked towards the Steelers bench, but never got particularly close, staring down the Pittsburgh sideline after his big play and then trotted back to the Chicago bench.

That earned him a flag, and many noticed that referee Tony Corrente even seemed to go full James Harden and lean into Marsh to draw contact as he came off the field.

It was all very strange and helped lead to a Steelers field goal to go up six. The oddest part is, it might’ve helped the Bears out in a way, as it forced them to play for a touchdown and be aggressive rather than trying to ensure they at least forced overtime with a field goal. The result was Justin Fields throwing a pair of dimes to get Chicago a touchdown and a one-point lead on their ensuing drive.

Chicago scored with too much time left on the clock, though, and Pittsburgh went on to win, 29-27.