Connect with us

Steelers News

George Pickens Rips Referees, NFL: ‘It’s Political Over Everything’



Pittsburgh Steelers WR George Pickens
Steelers WR George Pickens against the Buffalo Bills, Jan. 15, 2024 - Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — The Steelers’ loss to the Bills hit home for many players. For some of the younger guys, it was their first taste of playoff defeat in the NFL. George Pickens had an up-and-down game against the Bills in his first playoff game, but he did not think the Steelers were at fault completely for their loss. Instead, Pickens took aim at the refs.

“Refs, refs, refs, that’s the only on my mind when it’s blatant,” Pickens said. “When I can see contact down the field, go ball, he pushing, I’m pushing. Or you know, it’s on an in, and he’s on the low hip and diving for the ball, and he never grabs me, and we’re both reaching for the ball, but if you blatantly grab me? You see on third or fourth down, a pivotal down, with twelve minutes to go, we score there, and they haven’t even scored yet. You get that right there, you know, but you’re not going to win a game when you have to play the refs and the Buffalo Bills. That’s what I really feel like happened to us today, to be honest.”

George Pickens will receive a fine for those comments. But he went even more in-depth with calls he felt did not meet the standard of NFL officiating. He referred to the holding call on Myles Jack as another call that he felt was wrong, referring to it all as ‘politics.’

“If you win a game like this, people are going to think what they’re going to think, so it’ll probably change a few perceptions. But like I said before, you can’t play the Bills and the refs at the same time,” Pickens said. “When you’re out there trying to make the plays you are personally and then they just take away calls. Throwing a clear pass over Myles Jack’s head. They called a PI – it’s not catchable. So just, politically, when guys go back and watch the game, watch the refs.”

Pickens fumbled early in the game, allowing Buffalo to take a 14-0 lead early on in the game. After the Steelers went down 31-17, Pickens was even angrier that he did not get that call when a Bills defender held him on a slant route. All of that combined, and Pickens argues that there was more out of control that the Steelers could not have planned for in practice.

Pickens will receive that fine, and Diontae Johnson already was fined earlier this season for criticizing the officials. He was reportedly already fined over $200,000 over the course of the season by both the NFL and the Steelers. When asked if he was angry at not making the Pro Bowl, Pickens said it was all ‘politics’ and that everyone needs to start watching the games.

“That’s what I said today, the refs and politics. The Pro Bowl, the stats show it’s just politics. There’s going to come a time where people are going to start watching the games and knowing that it’s political over everything — who was on the team, what type of players the team has — it’s for sure political.”

Pickens had a breakout second season where he saw his game grow greatly. Now, he will hope to build on that into a third season in 2024.