During the first quarter of last Sunday’s game against the Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears defensive lineman Mario Edwards Jr. was hit with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. On the play in question the referee threw the flag when he saw Edwards point at Packer quarterback Aaron Rodgers and talk to him in a stern fashion.
Here’s the play if you need a refresher.
Yes, that was Green Bay’s Golden Boy grabbing Edwards by the facemask after being taken down following an incomplete pass. I’m sure Rodgers was unhappy with what he perceived as a late hit, which wasn’t flagged by the way, so he figured he’s show his displeasure by doing something illegal himself.
The refs apparently missed Rodgers tugging on Edwards’ facemask, but once the NFL had a chance to review the unsportsmanlike conduct penalty they’d surely waive the subsequent fine that is levied on such flags.
Bears DL Mario Edwards Jr. was fined $9,522 for unsportsmanlike conduct against the Packers.— Kevin Fishbain (@kfishbain) October 23, 2021
Packers corner Rasul Douglas was not fined for unnecessary roughness (late hit on Justin Fields).
With taunting such a point of emphasis this season Edwards should have just got up and took his case to the official, but in the heat of the moment saying a few words probably didn’t seem like that big a deal to him. It’s not like he took a swing at Rodgers after the antagonistic action of pulling his facemask. He likley just expressed his displeasure with a naughty word or two.
Last Sunday’s flag was Edwards’ third big penalty in the last two games after getting called for two unnecessary roughness penalties during week five’s contest against the Raiders, so maybe the league is looking at Edwards’ as a repeat offender and trying to send a message.
Or maybe the NFL simply doesn’t want to admit they missed Rodgers grabbing Edwards’ facemask, and that Edwards saying something to Rodgers wasn’t that big a deal, so they have to keep up appearances and fine Edwards.
Even on the FOX replay analyst Greg Olsen didn’t bother to mention what Rodgers did. Instead he said, “you get in the face of the other guy, they’re gonna call it.” But failing to comment that it was Rodgers that pulled Edwards into his face in the first place seemed odd.