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The Steelers-Bengals game on Monday night really felt like some kind of tipping point for the 2017 NFL season, with everyone sort of losing their minds on the field and everyone losing their minds off the field as a result. There was screaming about dirty play, there are questions about the NFL’s handling of in-game penalties and ejections and just a lot of vitriol spilling over into the general conversation.

Thank goodness there’s one voice here to rise above the noise and give us an incredible, calm-yet-angry rant on everyone and everything. Ladies and gentlemen, Mike Mitchell

The Steelers safety stood in front of his locker and went on a two-minute (give or take) rant that touched on just about everything relating to football and the questions people ask about the play during the Monday night game. 

Basically it boils down to the following:

Football is soft now

“This is football. If you want to see flag football then let’s take our pads off. That would make it easier for me, because now I don’t gotta wear heavy s—. But give me flags to pull off so I know what we’re playing. I signed up to play full speed, contact football. I feel like I gotta ask a guy ‘hey are you ready for me to hit you right now?’ before I hit you. And that’s crazy.”

It’s all Andy Dalton’s fault (but seriously QBs share blame too)

“I’m gonna mess around and get hurt trying to protect an offensive player because he’s running an over route. Dammit, your quarterback shouldn’t have thrown that ball messed up. That happened two years ago. I’m not joking at all. Andy Dalton threw a ball to Tyler Eifert two years ago. I was aiming for his gut, but if he don’t dive, he don’t get hit in the head. That’s 50 grand out of my pocket though. Because Andy throws a bad ball. Make that make sense.”

Matt Hasselbeck is an a–hole

“At first you’re taking our money, but now I’ve got a–holes like Matt Hasselbeck calling me a dirty player and trying my character and we’ve never met before. I donate more money to Cincinnati underprivileged kids than probably people on the Bengals. So don’t give me that name. My nephew goes to school there. I take all that personally. You don’t know me, you’ve never had a conversation with me. Don’t judge me on what you see on football, because football’s my competitive side. You know what I’m saying?”

No one likes Roger Goodell

There’s just so much going on in the game right now. Obviously I’m a little flustered, but we’ve just got to do better. We’ve got to do better as players when we sign the next CBA. We gotta get better leadership as who’s running the league, because obviously everybody, from fans, owners, players are all disappointed in Roger Goodell. We just gotta do better. 

The NFL’s discipline method is very confusing

We can’t have a guy where you just hand out discipline on how you see fit. There needs to be a set guideline on how you do what you do. There’s no way — I see two people get post-play penalties, post-play infractions that don’t have to do with football and you get the same suspension as a guy who is making a football play in a football game. It’s absolutely absurd. But like I said, man, Steelers versus the world.


Whew. OK. Video below — via Mark Kaboly of The Athletic Pittsburgh — in case you want to watch it, and you should, because it’s epic.

But first, let’s unpack some of this because, well, Mitchell isn’t really wrong about any of it. Except the Hasselbeck thing anyway — he was mad that Hasselbeck said his hit on Alex Smith was dirty, but the league did fine Mitchell almost $50,000 for the hit and Smith was pretty mad about it. It looked dirty. Plus, Hasselbeck is a nice guy! 

As for the other stuff: 

1) It’s understandable that a hard-hitting safety like Mitchell would be sick of making football more “safe.” He wants to hit dudes and he wants to play the game of football the way he grew up playing it. There are lots of good rules making football safer, Mike Mitchell doesn’t love all of them. It’s still very confusing whether a hit was “legal” or not and it’s difficult for defenders to know whether they will be flagged for hits that might cross the line. 

2) Quarterbacks missing throws does lead to receivers adjusting and that leads to defenders making hits that might otherwise be legal because angles change. It’s going to be hard for refs to catch that and it’s going to lead to flags. 

3) We can agree that Hasselbeck is a nice human being and would also tell Mike Mitchell to his face that the hit looked dirty; it is his job to commentate on football on television. Can’t have analysts be soft too!

4) Roger Goodell is not always popular. He is, however, extremely rich. 

5) Everyone remains extremely confused by the NFL‘s procedure for discipline. Even the NFL. It’s a process but it hasn’t gotten streamlined. Streamlining would be good. 

So it’s not a crazy rant. It is fun to watch however. 

Mike Mitchell for President. 2020. Vote now. 

Also it will get lost in there but good on him for talking about the work he does to help kids in Cincy. A+ stuff all around.