PITTSBURGH -- While the increased emphasis by the NFL on the taunting penalty has drawn criticism throughout the first half, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin supports the rule and its enforcement.
Tomlin, who is a member the NFL's competition committee said Tuesday that they were just trying to improve their game. "We accept the responsibility that comes along with being role models.
"This game is played at the highest level. We understand that those who play at a lower league often watch us and mimic our actions and conduct. This was just for the purpose of a league competition committee and there was a desire in that area to improve. Our guys have heard that.
Although the Steelers did not receive a taunting penalty in this season's regular season, they were able to benefit from a crucially timed flag in Monday night's 29-27 win over the Chicago Bears.
Cassius Marsh, former Steeler linebacker, sacked Ben Roethlisberger late in the fourth quarter. After celebrating with a roundhouse kick and staring at Steelers' bench while walking in their direction, Marsh was flagged by Tony Corrente for taunting. This gave the Steelers a 15-yard penalty which eventually led to a Chris Boswell 52 yard field goal.
Marsh said, "I believe that one was just bad timing. Marsh stated that it was obvious to everyone who saw it that Marsh wasn't teasing. Marsh said, "I have been celebrating my entire career." It's so sad to see things like this happen in such a close game.
Corrente, in a pool report, justified the flag and stated that his contact with Marsh did not factor into the call.
Corrente stated in a pool report that "First, remember that taunting was a point-of-emphasis this year." "And that being said, I observed the player run towards the Steelers bench after making a big play and pose in such a manner that I felt that he was taunting them.
"I didn’t view [the contact] the same as any other person I had dealt with. It had nothing to do. It was the taunting aspect."
Tomlin admitted that Marsh's call was an opportunity to learn for his players.
He said Tuesday that he had seen examples of this during team development. "And we continue reaffirming that as examples in a negatively turn up throughout the journey, for ourselves and for others."
Steelers coach Mike Steelers has supported the controversial taunting penalty enforcement during this season. He first addressed it prior to the Aug. 21 preseason match against the Lions.
Tomlin stated that he does not believe in anything unusual when it comes to enforcing the rule for his players. "This is not something we subscribe to or delve in to. It's nothing extraordinary. We appreciate the league's willingness and ability to take action against some of those.
Tomlin supported the rule in September. He stated that he had been focusing on the stadiums where he plays, but that all of them, men included, recognized that it was something that must be addressed. It's important that this be a focus and why we are not surprised at the increase in numbers. They will adapt. They always do. They should adjust quickly, especially when it comes to mine.