Ref explains controversial taunting penalty against Bears


The Chicago Bears were penalized a staggering 12 times for a total of 115 yards against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday Night Football.

Late in the fourth quarter after a big sack on third down, Bears' Cassius Marsh was called for taunting for staring at the Steelers bench. That gave the Steelers a first down to extend the drive.

And on what turned out to be the Steelers' game-winning drive, Bears penalties again helped push the Steelers down the field.

But there were also missed calls, like a roughing the passer hit on rookie quarterback Justin Fields.

After the game, referee Tony Corrente, who called that taunting penalty on Marsh and seemingly leaned into him to create contact afterward, talked to our own Adam Hoge about his calls that game.

Hoge: What did you see after the sack by Chicago’s Cassius Marsh in the fourth quarter that led to the taunting penalty being called?

Corrente: “First of all, keep in mind that taunting is a point of emphasis this year. 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.” 

Hoge: There appears to also have been some contact between you and the player in question. Did that contribute to the penalty being called?

Corrente: “No, not at all. I didn’t judge that as anything that I dealt with.”

Hoge: The video showed that you had brief contact with the player and then you threw the flag. So that had nothing to do with the penalty being called?

Corrente: "That I'm not aware of at all, no. I didn't judge that as anything that I dealt with."

Hoge: Can you explain the low block penalty that was called on Chicago’s James Daniels that negated a touchdown in the third quarter? 

Corrente: “Once again, the new rule this year is there should be no contact below the waist to any player outside of the tight end box. And this player initiated low contact to a player outside the tight end box.”

Hoge: In that situation, is it still a penalty if the offensive player fails to make contact?

Corrente: “I have to judge that there was contact, and that’s what I judged.”

Hoge: So you judged that there was contact?

Corrente: “Yes, I did. From my perspective and in my position, yes.”

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