Tuesday PM update: The NFL believes Tony Corrente made the correct call with the taunting penalty against Cassius Marsh, according to Washington Post NFL reporter Mark Maske. Additionally, the league “did not give credence to Marsh’s accusation that referee Tony Corrente inappropriately bumped into him as Marsh moved past the official and toward the Bears’ sideline following the play.” So, nothing will come of any of this for Marsh or the Bears.
The NFL wrapped up Week 9 with a Monday Night Football contest that featured a lot of the referees. There were some questionable flags, with Chicago Bears edge rusher Cassius Marsh receiving a taunting penalty for apparently looking a little too long at the Steelers sideline.
The most notable issue though might have come when referee Tony Corrente appeared to almost “hip check” Marsh as events were transpiring. As the video below shows, he appears to lean his butt back and Marsh bumps him while trying to go around.
On the taunting penalty, Cassius Marsh says he was hip checked by referee Tony Corrente. He watched the video and called it, “Incredibly inappropriate.”— Adam Hoge (@AdamHoge) November 9, 2021
Corrente said he was unaware the contact occurred.pic.twitter.com/4SFCIEhPow
Corrente told the media pool after the game that the “hip check” did not influence the flag for taunting, but it does raise some concerns about consistency in rule enforcement.
After the game, Marsh discussed the play and what happened with Corrente. He noted that had the shoe been on the other foot, he would probably have been kicked out of the game and potentially been suspended.
“On my way to the sideline, I got hip checked by the ref, and it’s pretty clear. If I were to do that to a ref or even touch the ref, we’d get kicked out of the game, possibly suspended and fined. So, I just think that was incredibly inappropriate.”
The Bears will not have much in the way of recourse other than to submit a complaint to the league. Unlike issues with rules or CBA violations, there is not much in the way of a formal process for complaints about officiating. The best case for the Bears is the NFL says a mistake was made and nothing comes of it. And even that happening is probably a bit of a longshot.
Instead, the Bears are left with what could have been. The Steelers led the Bears 23-20 in the fourth quarter and had just failed to convert a 3rd and 8. Marsh had sacked Ben Roethlisberger and pushed the Steelers back to their own 46. The taunting penalty gave Pittsburgh a first down and they eventually turned that into three points. The Bears scored a touchdown on the next drive but Pittsburgh won the game on a field goal in the final minute. Maybe Pittsburgh still wins the game, but that taunting penalty changed things considerably.