How did taunting become a point of emphasis? NFL coaches wanted it.
The coaches subcommittee, which is made up of Andy Reid, Brian Flores, John Harbaugh, Sean McDermott, Sean McVay, Kyle Shanahan, Kevin Stefanski and Mike Zimmer, recommended the move to the Competition Committee. The Competition Committee, which has coaches Frank Reich, Ron Rivera, Mike Tomlin and Mike Vrabel as members, approved it.
Officials now are enforcing it. They have thrown 11 flags for taunting in two weeks, the same number of taunting fouls called in the entire 2020 season.
Tomlin expects it to lead to an end to taunting.
“All of us, to a man, acknowledged that this is something that needed to be addressed,” Tomlin said. “That’s why it’s a point of emphasis. That’s why none of us are surprised at the number of calls in terms of them being increased. The players will adjust; they always do. They better adjust quickly, specifically speaking of mine.”
Bucs safety Antoine Winfield Jr.‘s taunting foul, when he flashed the peace sign at Tyreek Hill in the Super Bowl, could have served as the impetus for the point of emphasis. But officials didn’t penalize the Chiefs receiver — and the NFL didn’t fine him — for doing the same thing to Winfield in a Week 12 game last season.
So now officials — at the behest of the coaches — are calling anything that looks like taunting.
Rivera said Tuesday the purpose of the point of emphasis is to prevent small things from becoming big issues.