The surging Pittsburgh Steelers squeaked out a last-second victory over the Chicago Bears in what turned out to be a nail-biting and entertaining contest on Monday Night Football. Bears rookie quarterback Justin Fields appeared to have led an electric come-from-behind victory with under two minutes remaining in regulation, but unfortunately left too much time on the clock for Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers offense to get themselves in field goal range for what wound up being a game-winning kick by Chris Boswell. Unfortunately, despite the game providing us with quality talking points in abundance, a shocking and disappointing display by long-time NFL official Tony Corrente and his crew has dominated the headlines this morning.
The NFL must take action against Corrente, and hold him accountable for his actions.
Shotty and questionable officiating has regrettably been a league-wide issue for years now, but Monday night's display from Corrente was especially appalling. Chicago will be especially upset by Corrente's performance, as the majority of Monday night's egregious calls went against the Bears. The first noteworthy call occurred when Corrente flagged Bears guard James Daniels for a low block on Steelers star defender T.J. Watt, who was clearly inside the tight end box on the play, and video evidence was inconclusive regarding whether or not Daniels even initiated contact with Watt.
Corrente's post-game explanation will hardly satisfy the Bears’ faithful.
“I have to judge that there was contact, and that’s what I judged,” Corrente said.
The horrendous call took a touchdown off the board and Chicago had to ultimately settle for a field goal, representing an unnecessary loss of four points in a game that was eventually lost by a two-point margin.
Corrente unfortunately wasn't done influencing the outcome there. Bears outside linebacker Cassius Marsh appeared to have secured a crucial third-down sack on Ben Roethlisberger, one that would have forced a much-needed punt at a pivotal moment of the fourth quarter. Marsh was instead called for taunting, the Steelers were awarded a first down, and would go on to extend their lead to 26-20 by hitting a field goal while milking critical minutes off a winding clock.
Not only was the call highly questionable in its nature, but Corrente's explanation once again proved to be rather baseless.
"First of all, keep in mind that taunting is a point of emphasis this year," Corrente said. "And with that said, 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."
These were just a pair of highly questionable calls that directly determined the final result. The Bears were whistled for 12 penalties that cost them an astonishing 115 penalty yards. Corrente had a nightmarish performance on Monday night and must be punished for his horrid showing. The NFL is simply too good and too important to allow such displays to go without taking appropriate disciplinary action.