Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson got away with shoving an official Monday night in an incident that could have easily led to his ejection.
The contact happened in the third quarter of Monday's game against the Steelers that Pittsburgh won, 26-22. Watson was penalized for unnecessary roughness after grabbing the facemask of Steelers linebacker Kwon Alexander and slinging him out of bounds.
The incident led to yelling, pushing and shoving on the Steelers sideline. Umpire Barry Anderson stepped in between Watson and the sideline in an attempt to simmer tensions. Watson then shoved Anderson to the side as he continued to engage with Steelers players. Watson's teammates then intervened and separated Watson from the situation.
NFL rules call for a penalty and ejection for any contact with an official deemed unnecessary.
Per section 12-3-1-e of the NFL rulebook regarding "Unnecessary physical contact with a game official:"
Under no circumstance is a player allowed to shove, push, or strike an official in an offensive, disrespectful, or unsportsmanlike manner. The player shall be disqualified from the game, and any such action must be reported to the Commissioner.
Game officials in Pittsburgh Monday apparently didn't believe that Watson's contact met the standard for ejection, even though he clearly shoved Anderson out of his way. He wasn't penalized or ejected for the incident and ultimately played the remainder of the game.