Dec 15, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Cincinnati Bengals safety Reggie Nelson (20) talks with referee Ed Hochuli (85) during the second half at Heinz Field. The Steelers won 30-20. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports
Officiating – Is it just me, or has the officiating the last few weeks just been brutal? And it isn’t just the Bengals games (Minnesota and Cleveland lost games last week on terrible PI calls and Detroit likely lost a game Monday night on a terrible PI no call). It is embarrassing for the league.
While there were plenty of bad calls going both ways, it seemed like all of the big and critical bad calls (or no calls) went against the Bengals. Most glaring was the cheap shot on Huber on the punt return. The guy put the top of his helmet into Huber’s chin (a penalty under about 3 rules), and yet not one official saw it. I can assure you if Burfict made that hit, on any player, let alone a punter, he gets flagged.
While a flag would not have brought Huber back, it would have negated the touchdown that put the game out of reach. If the penalty is called, Pittsburgh gets the ball on their own 35 yard line, up 14. Instead, they took a 21-0 lead, energized the crowd beyond belief and likely ended the game.
Anyone else find it ironic how Reggie Nelson got flagged for taunting when replay shows no taunting body language (words alone shouldn’t get a taunting flag), yet Huber gets a helmet to the chin, a broken jaw, a cracked vertebrae, busted teeth and an end to his Pro Bowl season and not one official saw it?
In a league “concerned” about concussions, where brush to the helmet is a penalty, the officials decided that was a clean and legal hit? I sure hope Ed Hochuli and his crew are downgraded big time for that debacle.