Eric Bieniemy trying to crack down on Chiefs’ taunting penalties
Teams across the NFL are trying to adjust to the new normal that involves much stricter standards for taunting penalties. That includes the Kansas City Chiefs, who are getting an earful about it from offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy.
Bieniemy has been consistently confronting Chiefs players about taunting flags. His message is that like it or not, things that did not used to be an issue are now being enforced. He even offered a solution to players: simply hand the football back to the officials after making a play.
“The thing that we stress to our guys (is that) this is a point of emphasis, so regardless of what you might seem to think that it’s harmless, that’s not the case anymore,” Bieniemy said, via Sam McDowell of the Kansas City Star. “We need to go back to the days of just handing the ball to the ref — get in the end zone, celebrate with your guys, and then we go on from there.”
Bieniemy has been so fixated on taunting calls that when running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire was flagged for pointing at a linebacker while crossing the goal line against Dallas, other Chiefs players intercepted the running back to send the message before Bieniemy even could.
You could certainly argue that it’s silly that taunting has to be this much of a focus. Bieniemy is simply doing what every team should, though. Teams have lost games because of nitpicky taunting flags this season. Whether you like the rule or not, Bieniemy absolutely does not want his team to find itself in that sort of situation.