Steelers Bengals becoming best rivalry in the NFL


The Steelers and Bengals rivalry is quickly becoming the best in the NFL

Anyone notice the Steelers Bengals rivalry has been seriously heating up lately? You probably have. Forget the Ravens. Remember the Browns? Well forget them too. Steelers/Bengals is where it’s at right now.

Take the game on Sunday in Cincinnati for example. It was described as “chippy” many times by the announcers during the game and afterword from places like ESPN’s Coley Harvey.

What is this word? Chippy? Apparently it’s an adjective that’s been adapted for football, or really any setting where it applies. Webster’s calls it, “aggressively belligerent; also :  marked by much fighting”

Well, turns out the NFL gave us a way to quantify chippiness with dollars. Both teams racked up a number of fines totally over $145,000. They got a very nice house or a Lamborghini worth of chippy.

By this measure the chippiest player in the game was notoriously terrible person Vontaze Burfict. He paid nearly $70,000 dollars to the NFL. He was fined for  He was fined for diving at Ben Roethlisberger’s legs. Also for a facemask. Also for unnecessary roughness. This guy is truly terrible.

The fastest Steeler in the Roger Goodell charity fund 5k was Mike Mitchell for his head hit to Tyler Eifert that resulted in a concussion. He was fined over $23,000 for that hit.

Also chipping in were William Gay and Brandon Boykin for that never ending touchdown dance and Antonio Brown for a crackback block. Each of them for a few hundred south of $9,000. Oh ya, and AJ Green was fined more than $11,000 dollars for punting the ball into the stands.

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So ya, chippy.

On top of that there was a pregame roughhousing between the teams when Bengals players brought themselves to the wrong side of the field, about which Tomlin was not apologetic. And then another scuffle involving Brown later in the game.

Words you say? Oh yes, we’ll get to those. It’s not just words though, of which there are plenty, it’s the brutal physical toll these teams take on eachother. There’s the regular sort of physicality, it’s football after all, and recent Steelers Bengals games have been full of that, but the teams take a serious consequential toll on eachother.

Consider the last game. The Bengals lost Tyler Eifert to a concussion and Andy Dalton broke his thumb trying to tackle Stephon Tuitt after an early interception.

The game before that the Steelers lost Le’Veon Bell on a questionable play when the previously mentioned awful Vontaze Burfict rolled into Bell’s leg, injuring his knee and ending his season. The game before that Bell also was hit in the leg, injuring his knee and ending his season.

But it’s not just the brutal physical toll these teams take on eachother, which is significant, it’s the words. Regarding the pregame scuffle on Sunday Tomlin said, from Cameron Wolf of the Denver Post, “We’re going to defend ourselves aggressively. Those confrontations occurred on our side of the ball after plays, outside of the ball, or outside of the 50 in pregame. Hey, that’s our side of the 50.”

When Bell got hurt in the previous game Ramon Foster called out Vontplaze Dirtyct, yuck yuck, saying, per CBS Sports’ John Breech, “I am sure they were aiming to take somebody out today and kudos to them, they did the job. He’s that type of guy. That type of guy gets his sooner or later. So, wait and see, I guess. He’s that type of guy, period. If you’re on the field with him, you know what I mean by that. They’ll play it off; he’ll act dumb about it. But you don’t run across the field hyped, celebrating, jumping up and down when a guy goes down like that.”

Marcus Gilbert corroborated that Burfict was celebrating and shared his thoughts on it: “Bull sh-t.”

And most recently, Big Ben called him out too, Ryan Wilson of CBS Sports quoted a recent radio interview where Roethlisberger said of Burfict’s dive to his knee, “I don’t buy that he was pushed. He definitely was diving in low and going for my legs. It’s tough. I am just glad I didn’t get hurt.”

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We all are Ben. Let’s hope this rivalry gets a little less costly in the future but for now, with the Ravens appearing to be off indefinitely and the Browns having a rough century so far, the Bengals and Steelers could prove to be a fun rivalry for a while.