The NFL is a more interesting place when the Pittsburgh Steelers are beefing with an AFC North rival. This year, it’s the Cincinnati Bengals, who were ready for the Steelers’ shenanigans before their game on Sunday even started. Their pregame dust-up was related to lingering bad feelings the Steelers had for Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict, whose tackle ended star running back Le’Veon Bell’s season in their first meeting.
Well, Burfict was at the Steelers’ legs again on Sunday, with this hit below quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s knees:
Roethlisberger went on record as saying he thought the hit was dirty, and the NFL agrees: Burfict has been hit with a $34,000 fine for the hit, with two other violations bringing his bill for Sunday up to $70,000 total.
Burfict’s defense is that he was pushed, and if you look closely at the video, you can see the hand of Carlos Dunlap on Burfict’s back as he dove. Is it enough to definitively call it a push? No, but it does put the seed of doubt in the heads of non-Steeler fans everywhere. Then again, Burfict’s track record doesn’t afford him the benefit of the doubt in such matters.
Anyway, I’m sure this will settle the animosity between the division rivals and they can carry on amicably in future games. Right?