The NFL crackdown on taunting is almost universally disliked, unless your name is Matt Nagy.
The Bears coach said on Wednesday that he’s glad the NFL is taking a stand against taunting.
“People watch, and people want to see a little bit of respect and a little bit of doing things the right way,” Nagy said. “It doesn’t mean you can’t have fun, but there’s young kids right now that are watching games, and what happens is you go to one of these sporting events and you might see some imitation going on that’s taking it over the top.
“I’m a firm believer in respect and just kids growing and watching and we have a huge platform as leaders. Players and coaches. Let’s understand what the rules are, let’s do it the right way. Let’s still have fun — these guys are still having fun and not taunting. You can still have a great time. But let’s stay within the rules as we do it.”
Nagy, 43, watched one of his own players become victim of the new rule, in what is perhaps the most egregious taunting call yet since it went into effect. In the Bears’ 29-27 loss to the Steelers on Nov. 8, Chicago linebacker Cassius Marsh was flagged for taunting. Marsh looked towards the Steelers sideline for a few seconds after sacking Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, far too extreme for the NFL to handle.
The call was costly. It allowed Pittsburgh to keep the ball in the final minutes of the fourth quarter rather than punt it to the Bears, who would then have had a chance to win the game with a field goal. The NFL fined Marsh $5,972 for unsportsmanlike conduct. Nagy said he takes it upon himself to teach his team to respect the rules.
“It’s our job to do it the right way,” Nagy said. “You’ve got to understand the rule. I need to do my job to teach that to the players so that they understand it, and understand these are the rules. We can’t change that.”