On Monday night, coaches film emerged from ESPN NFL Nation Patriots reporter Mike Reiss that made it seem like Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict may have stomped on Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount during the Bengals vs Patriots Week 6 matchup in New England.
Video: From coaches film (courtesy NFL), watch Vontaze Burfict (55) deliberately step on Blount's leg after TD. pic.twitter.com/wtTPqy3XHP— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) October 17, 2016
The video did not actually show what Burfict’s foot landed on or why he was seemingly strongly stepping down on the field. There were bodies of other players in the way in the video, restricting the view of Burfict’s foot. But, after the step Burfict takes, you see him holding the facemask of Blount as he gets up, and then an angered Blount pushes Burfict away. Pat Sims may actually have had the best view of exactly what happened as he was getting up off the ground and was watching, right behind the pile of players.
A closer look showed Burfict may have been trying to step around limbs on the ground as he made way to the middle of the pile. So while the stomp seemed like it may have been on a person, it actually could have been a deliberate attempt to avoid stepping on another player. There’s no reason Burfict should have been heading toward the middle of the pile, but regardless, that’s not an illegal action by NFL rules. Here’s the new angle that has emerged on Tuesday.
Furthermore, there was a game official standing right there, where the action was taking place. (Thanks to Cincy Jungle commenter City VII for this image.)
If Burfict “stomped” on another player, the official likely would have seen it, as he had the best view possible, from the back of the play and action.
ESPN’s Ed Werder says that a Bengals source indicated Burfict did not step on Blount; though, of course a Bengals source would say that.
#Bengals source says tape review indicates Vontaze Burfict didn't step on LeGarrette Blount, noting official looking directly at player— Ed Werder (@Edwerderespn) October 18, 2016
Whatever punishment the league hands down (if any), Josina Anderson, also of ESPN, believes it will come by Wednesday, if not sooner.
I'm told NFL VP of Policy & Rules Administration Jon Runyan will decide on posb discipline for Vontaze Burfict no later than Wed, posb today— Josina Anderson (@JosinaAnderson) October 18, 2016
And, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport still maintains he doesn’t believe a suspension will be handed down, just a “big fine”.
Connor Howe also did an in-depth look at the altercation and the rest of the drama surrounding Burfict in the Patriots game, which you can read here.
The league is also reviewing a low hit Burfict took on Martellus Bennett from earlier in the game, which Burfict apologized for, according to Bennett himself.