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NFL Head of Officiating confirms there was no foul on Steelers game-winning TD

The Bengals always have imaginary complaints about the standard of refereeing when they lose to the Steelers, but the league has proved to be right on this call after all.

Pittsburgh Steelers v Cincinnati Bengals

Every time the Pittsburgh Steelers play the Cincinnati Bengals as of late, you can be sure of three things happening.

  1. Pittsburgh will win.
  2. Vontaze Burfict will do something stupid.
  3. Bengals fans will complain about a phantom penalty they believe cost them the game.

The Steelers Week 6 encounter with Cincinnati followed the script impeccably on Sunday, with the controversial penalty for Bengals fans coming on Pittsburgh 31-yard game winning pass to Antonio Brown with 10 seconds left to play. Inexplicably believing that Justin Hunter had run a pick play, many fans, and even certain members of the media seemed to ignore the Bengals defender initiating contact with the Steelers’ receiver on the snap of the ball.

Proving they are not always incapable of doing their job correctly, the NFL moved quickly to address the obvious no call on Sunday night when the league’s Senior Vice President of Officiating, Al Riveron, clarified any confusion for those struggling with one of the more fundamental rules that govern a play like this.

When even former New England Patriots safety Rodney Harrison does not think it was a penalty, you know the Bengals have no case.

For cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick and several Cincinnati fans, his holding call a few moments before that touchdown pass was another example of the referees favoring the Steelers. However, it does not take an official video from the NFL to prove that is a fallacy, regardless of what Kirkpatrick told reporters after the game.

A quick review of the tape tells a very different story.

If there is a genuine complaint to be made about the officiating from Sunday, it would be that they once again let the potentially dangerous actions of Burfict go unpenalized. His intentional blow to the head of Antonio Brown during the second half was the most blatant of his fouls on the day, but his efforts earlier in the game clearly showed a pattern of behavior that would likely escalate in the way that it did if it went unchecked.

For a league that claims to value player safety, allowing someone with Burfict’s violent tendencies to take the field makes of mockery of any flag or fine handed out on a Sunday.