Dick Butkus miffed by NFL taunting penalties: 'I really don't know what they're doing'


(CBS Sports Radio) A controversial taunting penalty on Bears linebacker Cassius Marsh late in the fourth quarter shifted momentum in the team's 29-27 road loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday night.

After seeing that, Hall of Fame linebacker and Bears franchise legend Dick Butkus is still trying to process why head referee Tony Corrente elected to throw his flag and penalize Marsh for taunting for celebrating a clutch sack of Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

Podcast Episode
The DA Show Interviews
Dick Butkus Interview
Listen Now
Now Playing
Now Playing

"I really don't know what they're doing -- it's awful," Butkus told the DA Show on Wednesday. "I understand with this taunting business, when someone says something after hitting somebody, that's taunting. But if you intercept somebody, the whole team runs down to the other end zone to do their gyrations in front of the camera. What's that all about?... It was a wrong call on (Marsh)... That was a lousy call, no getting around it.

"I thought maybe it was because he bumped (Corrente), but no, everybody's telling me he was reaching for the flag before that. Oh, c'mon. The guy didn't even say anything. He's in the middle of the field and he's looking over there. The poor kid just got up from the practice squad and he's able to play, and he makes a key hit. Oh, god, c'mon ... I don't know how you can play this game without getting your lather up. I really don't..."

The incident occurred after Marsh sacked Roethlisberger on a third-down play with the Steelers leading 23-20 with just under four minutes to play. Marsh did a spinning jump-kick in celebration, took steps toward Pittsburgh's sideline and then jogged over to Chicago's side of the field. Video replay shows Corrente reaching for his flag and initiating contact with Marsh before making the call. As a result, the Steelers' drive continued, and they ultimately drilled a field goal, which proved to be three key points as they extended their lead to 26-20.

Shop for the latest Bears team gear here.

Corrente addressed the questionable foul with a pool reporter, explaining that taunting is "a point of emphasis this year" and that he believed Marsh's posture and action toward Pittsburgh's sideline warranted the flag. Corrente also said that his brief contact with Marsh had nothing to do with the taunting penalty. Marsh disagreed, as he accused Corrente of "hip-checking" him on the field.

If the taunting penalty hadn't been called, Pittsburgh would've been forced to punt near midfield. The Bears still orchestrated their own 75-yard touchdown drive minutes after the penalty and Steelers field goal to briefly take a 27-26 lead, but it wouldn't hold up.

The entire conversation with Butkus can be accessed in the audio player above.

You can follow The DA Show on Twitter @DAonCBS and @CBSSportsRadio, and can you follow Tom Hanslin @TomHanslin.

LISTEN on the Audacy app
Sign up and follow Audacy Sports
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Featured Image Photo Credit: Michael Hickey/stringer/Getty Images