PITTSBURGH — Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin supports the NFL’s new emphasis on taunting penalties, which played a major factor in his team’s win over the Chicago Bears on Monday.
The Steelers were granted 15 yards and a first down after Bears outside linebacker Cassius Marsh was flagged for taunting the Pittsburgh bench after sacking Ben Roethlisberger on a third down late in the game.
The penalty let the Steelers kick a field goal and they went on to win the game by just two points. Marsh claimed that he was not intending to taunt anyone, while referee Tony Corrente defended his call.
Regardless of the facts of that decision, the league’s increased emphasis on taunting this season has resulted in an eruption of situations like Monday’s, which has not been a universally beloved situation by football fans.
But Tomlin, who is on the NFL’s competition committee, sees value in taking taunting out of the game.
“We’re just trying to clean our game up,” Tomlin said. “We embrace the responsibility that comes with being the role models that we are. This game being played at the highest level, we understand that people that play at a lower level watch us and often mimic the things that we do and how we conduct ourselves. As a league competition committee specifically, there was a desire to improve in that area.”
Tomlin said he’s taken that message to his team specifically. The Steelers have not been victims of the new taunting emphasis yet this season.
“We’ve been shown examples of that throughout team development, and we continue to reinforce that as examples in negative way turn up during the course of the journey for us an others,” Tomlin said.