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Ball don’t lie: 3 worst calls from Week 16 of the 2021 NFL season

Dec 5, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin argues a call with officials in the third quarter of the game against the Baltimore Ravens at Heinz Field. The Steelers won 20-19. Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

NFL officials couldn’t even ruin the holidays for most of us who spent months stuck inside due to the pandemic, but they damn well tried.

While taunting took centerstage once again on Sunday due to Mike Tomlin’s comments, in which he said he agreed with the taunting crackdown overall but not in the case of Ray-Ray McCloud signaling first down in a blowout loss (lol), I’m reminded of my previous comment regarding the guideline in the first place. Drum roll, please:

“If players are not allowed to celebrate whatsoever, then it takes personality out of the game itself. Do we really want that? In an era of player empowerment and self-advertising, taking celebration and personality out of the game goes against its very fabric, and limits the NFL’s ability to take advantage of it financially, which is what really matters to the owners.”

I’ve written that statement, or one of the same sentiment, at least five times so far this year. We can only hope an important playoff game isn’t decided by a first-down point, or spinning the football.

For the record, here’s the play Tomlin is talking about, which I’ll call the honorable mention of the week:

The Chiefs may never be the same.

When Gene Steratore calls out the officiating crew, you know it’s bad

In the Raiders eventual win over the Denver Broncos, Las Vegas defensive end Clelin Ferrell was pushed into quarterback Drew Lock’s ankle, drawing a flag.

Obviously, if the Broncos offensive lineman shoved Ferrell in the back, thus causing him to fall into Lock, there should not have been a flag. The penalty allowed Denver to escape its own end zone.

Comical, but not egregious. It’s easy to see how the officiating crew would’ve mistaken Ferrell’s clumsy fall for purposeful. Yet, with the benefit of instant replay, it’s fairly obvious he was shoved. Defensive players are trained not to dive low nowadays, anyway, so it was always a safe assumption that Ferrell didn’t hit Lock low on purpose.

Well, it was obvious to everyone but the officials, per usual.

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