PITTSBURGH—NFL analysts across the nation delighted in Sunday’s game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals, praising both teams for playing an old-fashioned brand of rugged, physical football that was riddled with brain injuries.
“This was just a good old slugfest,” ESPN analyst Mike Ditka said during a post-game show. “That was a great example of how football should be played: hard, physical, and fast,” Ditka continued, remarking on the run-heavy game that left multiple players with life-altering concussions.
Other analysts and former players lauded the game’s departure from what they believe has become a pass-focused version of the game that penalizes players for playing too aggressively.
“It feels good to finally get back to football after all that’s happened this year with Ray [Rice] and Adrian [Peterson],” FOX analyst Terry Bradshaw said of the game, which had its play stopped on three separate occasions to tend to players dazed from slamming into each other without slowing down.
The adulation for the game, whose high-speed collisions resulted in cranial damage that would likely not be discovered for years by the untold players who suffered it, continued from NBC’s Sunday Night Football color commentator, Cris Collinsworth.
“In a game like this one, so late in the season, flags shouldn’t decide it; thankfully, they didn’t,” Collinsworth said, approving of the lack of penalties levied for the scores of head-to-head spear tackles committed during the game.
“Deciding the fate of the playoffs is of the utmost importance,” Collinsworth added before marveling at a replay of Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton being thrown onto his neck by a Steelers defender and lying prone for several seconds.
“Now that’s football,” Collinsworth said.