Steelers vs. Bengals – Worst Game EVER

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If your child saw the 2016 Steelers vs. Bengals playoff game, sit him down and explain to him that what he saw was not football.

It’s Steelers vs. Bengals, it’s a heated rivalry, and it’s playoff football- I get all of that. However, what we witnessed last night was against the foundation of what makes football great, and it must be addressed by the NFL, specifically Roger Goodell immediately– ASAP– pronto. Commissioner Goodell collects a salary of at least $30 million dollars a year, with that salary comes heavy responsibility not just to professional players, but also to our impressionable youth football players. The NFL, the coaches, the referees, the players, and the Bengals fans. Everyone is to blame.


When Steelers LB Ryan Shazier launched himself toward Bengals RB Giovanni Bernard as Gio caught a pass in the flat, helmet to helmet, no penalty was assessed. Clearly, the Steelers coaching staff doesn’t put an emphasis on tackling with your head up. Shazier knocked Bernard out of the game, then appeared to celebrate his feat on the sideline. Classless.

ARTICLE 8. Unnecessary Roughness, Head to Head Contact:

It is a penality- If a player uses any part of his helmet (including the top/crown and forehead/”hairline” parts) or facemask to butt, spear, or ram an opponent violently or unnecessarily.

Here is a link to the NFL Rule Book.

This game was filled with dirty head to head hits, but Marvin Lewis’s  team was the team that clearly lost their composure. Burfict’s cheap shot on Antonio Brown was disgusting. This isn’t Vontaze Burfict’s first dirty play. He has had multiple personal foul penalties and is known as cheap-shot artist. In my opinion, he needs to be severally fined and suspended for MULTIPLE games.  Burfict and a couple of other players were clearly heated after Ryan Shazier’s helmet to helmet hit on Giovani Bernard. They had every right to be upset that no penalty was called. BUT! It is the coaches job to make sure their players maintain their composure. Marvin Lewis clearly lost control of his team. Marvin Lewis elected to keep players like Burfict and Adam Jones in the game when they clearly needed to calm down. The only thing more pathetic than Jones’ personal foul, was his pathetic rant after the game.

The NFL is a business. Players and coaches have to win or else they can lose their job. NFL coaches and players are paid to win, I understand that. But, Marvin’s lack of player and sideline control cost his team the game. There is no question about Vontaze Burfict’s talent, but his on-field antics cost his team the game. If I was Marvin Lewis, those players would never play another snap for me.

You can put the blame on Hill for fumbling the ball. However, ball security falls on the coaches as well. Why would you give the football to a player that has struggled with ball security? Clearly, Marvin Jones and his running back coach haven’t done a good enough job correcting Hill’s ball security issues. Again, another terrible coaching decision. It’s seriously unfortunate that a few bonehead players did some plays that ruined an entire season.  I believe the Bengals need to think long and hard about whether they want to keep Marvin Lewis, it might be time for a change. Being 0-7 in the playoffs clearly points to poor coaching. Oh, one more thing, what kind of play call was that when they went for 2 pt-conversion (swing pass play)? Probably one of the worst play calls I have ever witnessed.

The fact of the matter is that youth football players and parents look up to the NFL. These players and coaches need to understand that as a PROFESSIONAL athlete, they have a responsibility to lead by positive example.  The NFL needs to come down hard on these players and coaches. The NFL is losing credibility as the leading football authority in the US. People see the actions of the NFL and assume that this is how it is in youth football (false).  

NFL Coaches & Players, maybe it is an on-field reminder that you need? Here we go:

  • Act with class in victory and defeat. Remember sportsmanship!
  • Teach, reinforce and tackle with the head up.
  • Lead by positive example on and off of the field.
  • Maintain composure.
  • Never take cheap-shots with intent to injure.
  • Never celebrate when you injure a player. Classless and it was not what you were taught.
  • Coaches, control your team. Bring into your organization good-character players.
  • Sit players that cannot control their emotions, because those players will drag the team down.

Final Thought:  The NFL needs a wakeup/ reality check. They should drop the hammer on both of these teams. You have Pittsburgh and Cincinnati defenders executing head to head hits. You have both coaches losing control of their sidelines and then there was Pittsburgh assistant coaches on the field engaging in trash talk. These are disgusting actions- this is not football.

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