People are way too quick to throw around allegations of "dirty" play in the NFL. There are thousands of plays per year, injuries are going to happen, and it's hard to know how fast and automatic a lot of these plays are if you've never been out on the field.
But sometimes there's just too much evidence to ignore.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have the second longest tenured head coach in the NFL in Mike Tomlin. This is a franchise that has a huge amount of continuity every year, and their culture has held steady for years. Steelers fans love that, but it also makes it very hard to ignore the trend that has popped up over the last 15-20 years in Pittsburgh.
The Minkah Fitzpatrick hit is one you could call a fluke accident in a vacuum. I know some Browns fans will disagree with even that, but it's at least feasible that it was. Once we look at it in context?
This hit was so bad that it might lead to an NFL rule change. And that's not new territory for Steelers players.
This would be the fifth time since 2005 that a dirty Steelers play has forced an NFL rule change. To give them the benefit of the doubt, I won't even go all the way back to the "Jerome Bettis rule" after he tried to cheat his way into a coin-toss win.
Here's a look at the first four:
Dirty Steelers Plays That Forced NFL Rule Changes
1. Joey Porter Rule
Joey Porter's history with the Steelers obviously goes back way before 2006, and his career had plenty of overlap with Bettis. Maybe we should include the Jerome Bettis rule on this list...
Porter's transgression came as a coach though.
In a 2016 AFC Wild Card Game against the Cincinnati Bengals, the then-38-year-old Porter apparently forgot that he wasn't a player anymore and rushed the field to get into an altercation with Bengals players during an injury timeout.
Adam Jones pushed Porter and picked up a 15-yard penalty that led to a Steelers game-winning field goal. You do not, under any circumstances, "gotta hand it to" Pacman Jones or the Bengals, but I do kind of feel for them. Porter was being a clown, and the Steelers were rewarded for it.
Porter even ended up getting fined for his involvement:
Everyone knew Porter was in the wrong, but in typical Steelers fashion the consequences he faced didn't make up for the advantage his team got from the incident.
The NFL quickly established the "Joey Porter Rule," which prohibits anyone except the head coach from coming onto the field during an injury timeout.