CINCINNATI – The NFL added insult to injury to the Bengals' heartbreaking loss to the Steelers when they handed out fines to both teams Friday.
The Steelers got off with a slap on the wrist - and worse - the officiating crew that lost control of the game, seemed to call it with a jaundiced eye toward the Bengals and didn't flag Steelers assistant coach Joey Porter when he came on the field at the end, received no discipline, according to reports.
Porter and Mike Munchak, the Steelers assistant who accosted Bengals safety Reggie Nelson on the sideline, got $10,000 fines – a meager price to pay in Porter's case for drawing the unsportsmanlike conduct penalty from Adam Jones that turned victory into defeat for the Bengals. Munchak pulled Nelson's hair and appeared to push him after the Bengals safety made a tackle on the Steelers sideline.
Perhaps even more questionable, the NFL did not fine Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier for his helmet-to-helmet hit on Bengals running back Gio Bernard, despite suspending Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict for three games in 2016 following his shoulder-to-helmet hit on receiver Antonio Brown.
Nor was Steelers cornerback Antwon Blake fined for helmet-to-helmet contact with Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert.
The impact of Brown's injury on the Steelers' chances of advancing in the playoffs may have had something to do with that. Brown, who suffered a concussion, has been officially ruled out of Sunday's divisional playoff game with the Broncos.
The biggest fine was reserved for Jones, docked $28,940 for pushing an official in an misguided attempt to get to Porter. The 15-yard penalties against Burfict and Jones advanced the Steelers 30 yards and set up the game-winning 35-yard field goal with 22 seconds left.
In all, the NFL handed out $83,665 in fines Friday and that doesn't include the $717,000 from three game checks Burfict stands to lose if he doesn’t successfully appeal his suspension.
Also fined were:
> Bengals nose tackle Domata Peko ($8,681) for coming off the bench and shoving Steelers running back Fitzgerald Toussaint.
> Bengals defensive end Wallace Gilberry ($8,681) for shoving Porter after the game.
> Steelers guard Ramon Foster ($17,363 - twice what Peko and Gilberry got) for a leg whip.
The Steelers and Bengals were fined a total of $118,649 after their previous game, a 33-20 win by the Steelers in Cincinnati on Dec. 13. Burfict was fined $69,454 for three separate infractions in that game,