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In bending over backwards to defend referee Tony Corrente’s Gran Torino moment from two Monday nights ago, the NFL decided that “posturing” toward an entire sideline after a big play counts as taunting.
While it provided a semi-plausible explanation for the decision to flag (and later fine) Marsh, it created a standard that won’t be easy to enforce. It’s one thing to monitor player interactions for impermissible gestures. It’s quite another to have eyes on 22 players in the event that one of them may turn toward an entire sideline and strike a pose that could spark a subsequent rumble.
Our effort to collect and present inconsistencies and errors in officiating has caught the attention of coaches and executives who otherwise have no outlet for letting people know about mistakes and/or examples of basic inequity.
Case in point. A coach alerted us on Wednesday night to the fact that Sunday’s 45-17 win by the Bills over the Jets included an uncalled instance of “posturing.”
During a 15-yard touchdown run by Buffalo running back Matt Breida, Bills tackle Spencer Brown led the charge toward the right side of the field and wiped out a Jets defender. Brown then gets up and postures/taunts/whatever the New York sideline.
The game broadcast didn’t catch it. However, it happened in plain view. The coaching film shows it.
Throwing a flag on Brown would have been as ridiculous as the flag that was thrown on Marsh. But by defending the Marsh call, however, the NFL set the bar. By failing to enforce it consistently, the NFL has invited criticism along with plausible suspicion from some that something fishy is happening whenever “posturing” occurs but no penalty is called.