While the National Football League defended referee Tony Corrente and his crew for calls made in the Week 9 Monday Night Football game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Chicago Bears, NFL officials reportedly felt differently behind the scenes.
The NFL defended Corrente’s judgment that Bears’ linebacker Cassius Marsh taunted the Steelers’ sideline in the fourth quarter against Pittsburgh. What would have been a pivotal stop, resulting in a sack of Ben Roethlisberger, instead set Steelers’ kicker Chris Bowell up for a game-deciding 52-yard field goal on Nov. 8.
Corrente also received public backlash for seemingly hip-checking Marsh as he walked back to the Bears’ sideline. The seemingly forced contact from Corrente was immediately followed by the referee dramatically throwing the flag for taunting and holding a pose for several seconds.
While the NFL defended Corrente’s actions and believes his crew did its job on Monday Night Football, it seems top NFL officials felt differently.
According to NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport, members of the league’s NFL officiating department that reviewed the game identified at least three instances where the referees erred in crucial moments.
One of the calls cost the Bears a touchdown. Chicago was called for a low block penalty, wiping out a Justin Fields touchdown pass in a 29-27 loss. The review of Monday’s game also found multiple missed penalties on the Steelers, including a late hit that should have put Chicago in a first-and-goal situation in the third quarter.
The Bears had to settle for a 65-yard field goal attempt with only seconds remaining in the game. While Cairo Santos missed the kick, NFL officials spotted multiple Steelers’ players offsides on the kick. It should have been a 5-yard penalty, giving Santos a shot from 60 yards out.
While the league backed the officiating crew this week, it is possible the missed calls impact whether or not Corrente’s crew gets assignments in the NFL Playoffs.