Despite reducing Pittsburgh Steelers offensive lineman Maurkice Pouncey’s suspension, the NFL still put their poor judgment on full display.
When the NFL handed out discipline for the Week 11 incident between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns, it was a bit surprising to see Steelers Center Maurkice Pouncey receive three games for his role in the chaos. After Myles Garrett hit Mason Rudolph over the head with a helmet, the ensuing brawl was ugly, and Pouncey was in the thick of the action, resulting in the original three-game ban for him. Fast-forward a week and the NFL has decided to reduce Pouncey’s suspension by a game. Unfortunately, that penalty, while an improvement, is still too harsh.
Does Pouncey deserve to be punished for his role in the scrum? Yes. That said, he was simply doing what every offensive lineman would do in that situation by protecting his teammate. Pouncey is known as a guy that would do anything for his teammates, and his reaction to seeing his quarterback getting hit is yet another example of how far Pouncey will go to protect his guys.
The problem isn’t that Pouncey is still facing a suspension, rather, the issue is the NFL’s handling of the situation. Instead of giving Pouncey the previously-standard one-game suspension, the league decided on a longer punishment for one clear reason – they don’t want Pouncey available for the Steelers vs Browns rematch in Week 13. As per usual, the NFL issued a punishment that is inconsistent and ignores any previous precedent.
At the end of the day, Pouncey deserves some sort of slap on the wrist for his actions, but the NFL’s judgment here seems incorrect. This was clearly a ploy to keep Pouncey out of what is sure to be an emotional game and that’s incredibly disappointing. The NFL had a chance to correct their mistake and allow the Pittsburgh Steelers to get back a star player for a heated divisional game, but once again, the league failed.