Had the Pittsburgh Steelers been on the wrong side of Sunday’s scoreboard, Marcus Allen’s name would’ve been in every headline. As bad of a penalty as you’ll ever see by a player, Allen was rightly flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct in the second half of today’s game against the Carolina Panthers after running to the Panthers’ sideline and jawing with the entire opposition.
Not only was it a penalty but it gave the Panthers a fresh set of downs, turning a third down sack and fourth down punt into a 1st and 10. New life led to new points as Carolina ended the drive not with a punt but a field goal, making it a 21-10 game.
Speaking to reporters afterwards, Allen owned up for the mistake. Here’s part of what he said via the PPG’s Ray Fittipaldo.
“I guess it was just too much passion, going back and forth. I should have started moving closer to my teammates to get away from them.”
The only player moving back and forth was Allen who ran from the middle of the field as a member of the Steelers’ punt rush team to the Panthers’ bench, quickly and justifiably drawing a penalty. Here’s a look at the moment.
Allen is a high-energy player but his emotions clearly got the best of him there. All’s well that ends well but it’s as bad of a penalty you’ll ever see a NFL player take. It wasn’t even a heat of the moment issue, Allen responding to something a player said or did to him. Unprovoked, Allen chose to run the 20 yards across the field to jaw at the Panthers’ players, at no point realizing what a critical mistake that would be.
On the year, Allen has been a core and multi-phase special teamer and active solely for that reason. Allen also said what Mike Tomlin told him once he got back to the sideline. Per Fittipaldo:
Not exactly a hard-lined approach by Tomlin. While many fans want to see Allen released, that’s unlikely to happen and it seems more likely than not that Allen will suit up for the Week 16 game against the Las Vegas Raiders. But mistakes like that can’t be tolerated and after a penalty-filled day, including two unsportsmanlike calls (Diontae Johnson responsible for the other), Tomlin has to do something to make sure that doesn’t happen again the rest of the season.