Analyst Suggests NFL ‘Empowered’ Refs to ‘Flip’ Bears Game

Matt Nagy

Getty Head coach Matt Nagy of the Chicago Bears suffered a rough loss Monday Night vs the Steelers.

One prominent NFL analyst has suggested the league may have incorporated the new taunting rule for potentially nefarious purposes.

After the Chicago Bears’ Monday Night Football loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on November 8, the game’s officiating came under a microscope after several questionable calls. One call came in the third quarter, when rookie QB Justin Fields tossed 1-yard touchdown to tight end Jimmy Graham. Or so it appeared. The TD was wiped off the scoreboard after the officials called a low-block penalty on guard James Daniels.

Trouble is, Daniels whiffed on his block, and never touched his opponent. One fan pointed out that the egregiously bad call on the Bears’ o-lineman came at a critical time, and tossed out a conspiracy theory about the refs “cheating:”

Fans weren’t the only ones suggesting NFL referees were being complicit in the intentional altering of games. Analyst Will Brinson of CBS Sports took to Twitter to accuse the league and its officials of working together to “flip games,” citing Chicago’s MNF loss to the Steelers as an example.

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Brinson Cites NFL’s New Gambling Partners, Taunting Rule, as Reasons to Be Suspicious

The Bears were flagged for a season-high 12 penalties against Pittsburgh, including a controversial taunting penalty late in the fourth quarter on this play that saw LB Cassius March get flagged for taunting at a pivotal moment in the fourth quarter:

Brinson suggested that the league’s new gambling partnerships coupled with the baffling and increasingly frequent taunting penalties like the one called on Marsh were connected. “The NFL announced five new gambling partners prior to this year and then empowered referees to completely flip games based on nothing more than an arbitrary rule that essentially lets them judge intent without knowing,” Brinson tweeted on November 8.

Technically, the league announced four new partners as Approved Sportsbook Operators this season, and they include FOX Bet, BetMGM, PointsBet, and WynnBET, according to the NFL’s official website. Brinson’s allegations of cheating and fixing games are unfounded, of course — but if the NFL had a more clear-cut definition of what the taunting penalty consisted of specifically, these claims of collusion would likely happen a lot less.

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League Backs Up Referee Who Made Taunting Call

The referee who flagged Marsh for taunting, Tony Corrente, defended his call after the game. “First of all, keep in mind that taunting is a point of emphasis this year,” Corrente said, via the pool report. “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.”

When asked about the contact that happened between him and Marsh as the Bears’ LB ran off the field, Corrente said it wasn’t an issue. “No, not at all. I didn’t judge that as anything that I dealt with.”

The league released a video on November 10 supporting Corrente and his calls:

But top Bears insider Adam Hoge was among many who noted that the contact was initiated by Corrente, and former NFL player Ryan Clark went viral for noting how ridiculous and vague the new taunting rules are, so the league really should do a better job of policing its officials while also clarifying its latest rule.

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Bob Smith
Bob Smith
2 months ago

Sorry folks I’ve been saying this for years

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