The Bengals and Steelers concluded their regular season series on Sunday, but the drama between the two AFC North rivals just won’t go away.
After the game, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlsberger stated that he felt that Cincinnati linebacker Vontaze Burfict took a cheap shot at his legs. Despite that, ESPN’s Adam Schefter initially reported that Burfict would not be fined for the hit.
Things have now changed again.
As it turns out, NFL fined Bengals LB Vontaze Burfict today for hit on Ben Roethlisberger, per agent Audie Attar. Burfict appealing fine.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 18, 2015
As the game was happening, Roethlisberger’s former teammate Charlie Batch voiced his displeasure with the no-call.
How could this hit by Vontaze Burfict not be a penalty. Watch this cheap shot as he targets Ben's ankle pic.twitter.com/O4ZcT1FC5m
— Charlie Batch (@CharlieBatch16) December 13, 2015
This hit is hard to defend. Burfict was coming in low, so it’s not as though he was blocked into Big Ben. The hit also wasn’t preceded by a sudden movement by Roethlisberger, which has become somewhat common on hits that drew discipline.
You never exactly know exactly what’s going on in someone’s mind, but the video won’t do Burfict any favors in his appeal process. Given the emphasis on player safety, especially at the quarterback position, it’s hard to see how this wasn’t called a penalty at the time.
But with the benefit of hindsight and replays, is difficult to imagine what kind of argument Burfict could make that would get the fine rescinded.