Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin saw his team benefit from some favorable officiating Monday night against the Chicago Bears.
The flags kept flying against the Bears, much to the delight of the home crowd in Pittsburgh.
Yet one bad call stands above the rest and that is the taunting flag thrown on Bears defender Cassius Marsh.
Marsh made a big play and seemed to be looking toward the Steelers bench.
The referee then appeared to lean into some contact before throwing a taunting flag.
The foul changed the dynamic of the game and the Steelers ended up coming out on top following some late-game excitement.
Most NFL fans, at least on social media, were dumbfounded by the taunting call.
Tomlin seemed to be in support of the rule not just when it helped his team, but in general.
#Steelers' Mike Tomlin, a member of the #NFL competition committee says he IS a fan of the taunting flags. Says, "We're just trying to clean our game up." And: "We understand that people playing it at a lower level watch us and often mimic us and how we conduct ourselves."
— Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) November 9, 2021
That is an easy side for Tomlin to take after the rule led his team to victory.
A Clearer Picture Is Needed
There are some egregious examples of taunting that are easy to call.
Cassius Marsh was called for a taunting penalty on what would have been 4th-and-15.
Steelers had their punting unit on the field. pic.twitter.com/DmXFF6sKZM
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) November 9, 2021
But what happened with Marsh?
He was simply looking at the bench for a few seconds before making his way back to the sidelines.
He was not doing anything out of the ordinary and what could have been a forgettable celebration turned into controversy.
There has to be a clearer sense of what defines taunting.
The NFL has made it a point to call the foul more, for better or worse, but players don’t seem to know what defines a taunting penalty.
Are simple gestures banned to supposedly clean up the game?
It does not make much logical sense that entire defenses can run to the end zone and pose for pictures following an interception, but a single player cannot even look at the opposing sideline for a few seconds.