Prior to Sunday’s game beaten the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cincinnati Bengals kicking off, the two teams had a minor skirmish near the middle of the field. During the game all of that bad blood boiled over and it resulted in several other minor scuffles.
After the Steelers 33-20 win, head coach Mike Tomlin was asked if he saw what happened during pregame.
“I’m not worried about that,” said Tomlin. “We were on our side of the 50 warming up and the confrontation happened. You come into our area, there’s going to be a confrontation. We were in our proper place.”
The pregame altercation appeared to be started by Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict when he came over to the Steelers side of the field to confront linebacker Vince Williams. That quickly led to several players from both teams having words with each other but it didn’t result in any punches being thrown.
Tomlin was later asked during his post game press conference what he tried to do during the game in order to prevent his players from being caught up in altercations during the contest.
“We don’t,” said Tomlin. “We’re going to defend ourselves aggressively. Those confrontations occurred on our side of the ball after the plays when they were on our side of the ball, or on our side of the 50 in pregame. Hey, that’s our side of the 50. Our guys are going to be where they’re supposed to be, but they will defend themselves aggressively.”
Burfict appeared to try to instigate even more during the game and at one point even hit Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger below the knee after he had gotten rid of the football. Burfict, however, wasn’t even flagged on that play in question and it will be interesting to see if the league fines him at the beginning of next week when they review the game tape.
“Gets the juices going. Especially for an old guy like myself, I need a little extra incentive,” linebacker James Harrison reportedly said after the game.