Referee Tony Corrente Discusses Controversial Taunting Call on Bears' Cassius Marsh

AP Photo/Matt Durisko
Referee Tony Corrente explained why he decided to punish Chicago Bears defensive end Cassius Marshall for taunting after Monday's 29-27 loss against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Tom Pelissero, NFL Network's Twitter account, tweeted a transcript from Corrente describing the call to Adam Hoge, NBC Sports Chicago's pool reporter.

Corrente said that taunting is an NFL "point of emphasis". He observed Marsh "run towards the Pittsburgh Steelers bench and pose in such a manner that I felt that he was taunting them."

Marsh's sack would have required the Steelers to punt at a three point lead with three minutes and 40 seconds left in the game. But the penalty gave them a first down, which allowed them to kick a field-goal to increase the lead to six.

With 1:46 left, the Bears scored the decisive touchdown. However, Pittsburgh regained the lead with a Chris Boswell 40 yard field goal with 26 seconds remaining.

Marsh made contact with Corrente as he ran back to the sidelines following his sacking of Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

Marsh did not seem to make contact with Corrente, but he did appear to move his hips in a hip-checking gesture when Marsh passed. As the contact was about to take place, Corrente threw a flag.

Marsh raised concerns about the hip check after the game. He said: "On my journey to the sideline I was hip-checked" It's quite clear. It's pretty clear. That was just incredibly inexcusable.

Corrente explained to Hoge that the contact between Marsh and him had nothing to do the flag and was solely based on his belief Marsh was taunting Pittsburgh's sideline.

Marsh, 29, is a rookie player in his eighth NFL season. He plays for his eighth team.

Marsh, a fourth-round UCLA pick in 2014, has 15 career sacks from 93 regular season games.

Although Roethlisberger was sacked late in Monday's match, it may have been his biggest sack. However, the penalty effectively made it moot and kept Pittsburgh alive.

Chicago had a chance to win, but there was too much time for Roethlisberger's offense and Pittsburgh's defense to score the winning field goal in the final seconds.