The 2016 AFC Wild Card game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cincinnati Bengals went too far. TV audiences know that, players know that and now, coaches are admitting it, too.
Mike Tomlin was reluctant to speak about the Steelers' Wild Card victory over the Bengals after the game, mostly due to the fact that his team was still in the playoffs. That's fair. Now that the NFL is taking a look into ways to combat players' on-field antics and misbehavior, Tomlin is speaking up about what happened on January 9th.
On Monday, the NFL altered its stance on helmet-to-helmet hits, ruling that hits like Ryan Shazier's helmet-to-helmet collision with Giovani Bernard will no longer be tolerated and, as a result, will be penalized regardless of the direction in which a player is running.
A day later, Tomlin added his two cents, saying he definitely wants to help the league promote better on-field behavior.
"It was unfortunate, obviously," Tomlin said, via ESPN. "I don't think any of us wants that. It's not good for football. We dealt with it as best as we could."
The NFL certainly doesn't want to see more violent on-field behavior, and it made a bold statement, suspending Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict for three games to start the 2016 season. The league also fined several players and multiple Steelers coaches, before rescinding a fine on Mike Munchak for pulling Reggie Nelson's hair. I'm still not sure what the league saw that convinced Goodell to rescind the fine.
Anyone who watched the January matchup between these two teams knows that the issue of player safety is getting out of hand. Hopefully, the league will be able to combat these issues going forward.
"The goal is not to eject people from the game," said Tomlin of the NFL's proposed rule to eject players after multiple personal fouls. "The goal is to change behavior."