Hoge: The real NFL taunting problem is how it’s officiated originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
PITTSBURGH — The NFL has a taunting problem. Just not the one they thought they had.
They thought they had a problem with players taunting each other. Now the league — predictably — has a much larger problem with its officials failing to understand how, when and why to identify taunting.
Just like when they didn’t know what a catch was.
And just like when they didn’t know how to review pass interference.
Every year the NFL forces “points of emphasis” on its officials, causing them to look for specific penalties over others. And that’s the root of the problem. Instead of reacting to what they are actually seeing, they are reacting to what they are being told to see.
It’s why James Daniels was called for a low block Monday night when he actually whiffed on his block. That’s another point of emphasis this year.
And its why linebacker Cassius Marsh was called for taunting on a crucial third down sack because he “postured” towards the Steelers sideline.
“That was a BS call,” Bears linebacker Roquan Smith said after the Bears’ 29-27 loss to the Steelers.
Smith thought the penalty was called on Marsh’s windmill kick sack celebration that he’s done his entire career. Bears head coach Matt Nagy wasn’t sure why it was called. Marsh didn’t even know it had been called until he was getting screamed at by his position coach.
The real reason?
“I saw the player, after he made a big play, run toward the bench area of the Pittsburgh Steelers and posture in such a way that I felt he was taunting them,” referee Tony Corrente said after the game.
Yes, Marsh was guilty of looking in the direction of the Steelers bench as he celebrated what at that point was the biggest play of the game and one of the biggest plays of his career: a sack that forced a Pittsburgh punt with 3:40 remaining in the game as the Bears trailed 23-20. This is a guy who…