Complaining that the referees are taking an NFL game into their own hands and deciding the outcome is overdone and usually a bit dramatic. But on Monday Night, one NFL referee appeared to quite literally insert himself into the action to justify a taunting penalty at a critical moment in the game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Chicago Bears.

With the Steelers leading the Bears 23-20 and less than five minutes remaining in the game, Bears linebacker Cassius Marsh sacked Ben Roethlisberger and stared over at the Pittsburgh sideline briefly before running towards his own. On his way, he ran close to referee Tony Corrente who appears to shift his body so that Marsh makes contact with him.

While it does look like Corrente already had his hand on the flag to call the taunting penalty, which gave the Steelers a fresh set of downs and a chance to extend their lead, it also seemed to many that he purposefully made contact with Marsh to justify the already iffy call.

NFL fans were united in their irateness and disdain for Corrente and the call.

Even when the Bears responded and scored a touchdown, to go up 27-26 with a little bit of time left, fans were already concerned about what Corrente might do next.

The Steelers did end up winning the game with a late field goal of their own, so it’s not like you can draw a line directly to the taunting call. However, there’s no doubt that it changed the trajectory of the end of the game. And there’s little doubt amongst NFL fans that Corrente needs to be disciplined or removed, although they’re also pretty sure neither will happen.

About Sean Keeley

Along with writing for Awful Announcing and The Comeback, Sean is the Editorial Strategy Director for Comeback Media. Previously, he created the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and wrote 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse-related things for SB Nation, Curbed, and other outlets. He currently lives in Seattle where he is complaining about bagels. Send tips/comments/complaints to