Steelers assistant coach Joey Porter did not get a game ball after all.
Porter helped incite a 15-yard penalty from Bengals corner Adam Jones during the waning seconds of Saturday's Wild Card fiasco which aided the Steelers in their attempt to boot a game-winning field goal. Porter was on the field because Steelers wideout Antonio Brown had just been knocked out by Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict, which cased another 15-yard penalty.
Handing Porter a game ball -- a report suggested that the Steelers indeed did this after the game -- would have been a subtle wink and nod to his alleged intentions, but head coach Mike Tomlin wanted to end that narrative on Tuesday.
"Untrue," he said.
Tomlin added: "This is what I'm gonna do about all of that so that we can move on. I think it's appropriate. Cincinnati is afforded the opportunity to sit around days after the game and rehash what happened. We're not afforded that opportunity. We've got a challenge - a formidable one - waiting on us in Denver. I said what I said after the game. I thought it appropriately summarized the play. We got respect for those guys. We understood what was at stake for them and us.
"It's a tough, hard-fought game against familiar opponents. It's just part of football. We're moving on. We have to. We can't waste one iota of time living in the past. It's not gonna help us beat the Denver Broncos, so I'm not gonna address it in anyway, because addressing it just leads to another question, whether it's to me or someone that plays for us and that's not gonna help us this week. So I respectfully decline any of those questions. I'm sure it's interesting for you guys. There's not enough ball going on this time of year so you'll continue to chew it, but we're not going to participate."
Tomlin didn't even attempt to disguise the burn on Cincinnati there. Over the past few days, we've heard a good amount from Bengals players, most notably when Adam Jones suggested that Brown was faking a concussion and that Porter was on the field cursing at Bengals players.
The final minute of that game was such a collective embarrassment that it's probably best for all sides to move on. Tomlin was excited about a win, but probably would have preferred to do so in a different manner.
Instead, he has to be firm and cut the floor out from any remaining questions that might probe into the behavior of the Bengals or the Steelers that night. It's one of the few times all year that a team has actually looked forward to facing the Broncos in Denver.