In the Wild Card round of the AFC Playoffs, when the scoreboard went to zeroes and the Pittsburgh Steelers had defeated the Cincinnati Bengals in stunning fashion, CBS sent the feed back to the studio where former Bengals QB, and biggest advocate, Boomer Esiason openly ripped the Bengals, their coaches and the fans for what he called a huge embarrassment.
Now, almost a month removed from the game, Esiason was asked about the rivalry at Super Bowl 50, and his comments are not surprising, but on point with the way the games have been played between these two teams the past season.
"There is an intensity there that is bordering on lunacy," he said. "I know both coaches were told before the game to control their players to make them understand it's only between the whistles. That game got out of control."
So, who is to blame for the fiasco which was the Steelers and Bengals in 2015? According to Esiason, its all on the head coaches.
"It falls on the coaches," Esiason told cincinnati.com. "I probably should have called out Mike Tomlin as well. These two teams, it's created something I don't think the NFL wants. I don't think anybody wants to watch it."
However, when it came down to the real igniter in this now fierce rivalry, Esiason pointed to two people.
"Unfortunately for Marvin, it's only one player. It's Vontaze Burfict that has kind of been the impetus for a lot of this stuff," Esiason said of Burfict. "He's a great football player but he crosses the line. That falls on the coach. It's one thing if it happens one time. Two times I get it. All right, a third time because it's really intense, but to have it happen seven times there is an obvious problem there. It's obvious Vontaze cannot control his emotions on the field when they need to be controlled at the most important times."
It is difficult to disagree with Esiason on this topic. The Steelers and Bengals rivalry is far beyond what the NFL has seen in recent years. It isn't just anger and aggression, there is a hatred that lies between these two teams. You can point the finger at head coaches or a single player all you want, but there are many involved who deserve a portion of the blame.
What should be discussed now is what the games in 2016 will look like, and less about how the 2015 games turned into a circus which had over $200,000 dollars in fines handed out be the NFL league office.