After referees made a late call against Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict during his team’s 20–17 overtime loss to the Denver Broncos, Burfict said he believes he has been targeted by officials, reports Coley Harvey of ESPN.
“The refs, they obviously have it out for me, but you can’t call a bulls--- flag like that at the end of the game,” Burfict said. “He looked at my number and then threw it.”
Just a minute into overtime play, Burfict was flagged for unnecessary roughness on Broncos tight end Virgil Green, which resulted in a 15 yard penalty. Denver then had the first down on the Bengals’ 41 and were able to kick a field goal nine plays later to take the lead. The Bengals were unable to score, resulting in the loss.
Burfict asserts that the officials were making late calls throughout the game, including on the play in question.
“The refs were late to blow whistles all night, and they threw the flag late,” Burfict said. "Once the dude [Green] flopped, the ref looked at me and seen it was my number and then threw the flag. I can’t control that. Just keep playing football.”
Burfict has developed a reputation for being a rough player. He was fined $25,000 last season for intentionally twisting the ankles of Carolina Panthers’ quarterback Cam Newton and tight end Greg Olsen. This season, he was fined almost $70,000 for a low hit on Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and two additional instances of unnecessary roughness.
- Xandria James