Watching the Green Bay-Seattle game get chippy in the fourth quarter, I was reminded of a referee back in the 80’s named Ben Drieth.
The date of the game was September 7, 1986. The Jets beat the Bills 28-24 in the first regular season game that year, with the Jets going 10-6 and making the playoffs, while the Bills went 4-12 with Jim Kelly as their quarterback. Kelly, who had just come over from the USFL the previous year, was being “introduced” to the NFL by Marty Lyons of the Jets, hence the fight.
Drieth then calls a personal foul on number 99, who was Mark Gastineau, the quarterback sacking wild man (and a steroid user, as he himself admitted years later) that the Jets had, who was known for dances to celebrate whenever he got to the QB. That usually triggered fights (the Rams and Jets had a famous fight in 1983), and this ’86 brawl was probably not an exception to all of that.
That’s the world of the NFL for you, and these guys aren’t there for their peacemaking skills.