Players who make it to the highest level of their sport can hang their hats on the fact that they're among the best athletes in the world at their respective positions. But usually, that comes with some growing pains for those making their professional debuts. And unfortunately for Chicago Bears rookie punter Trenton Gill, that was the case this afternoon at Soldier Field.
The Bears are hosting the San Francisco 49ers in Week 1 of the 2022 NFL season, and Gill was whistled for an unsportsmanlike penalty for a rather obscure rule that fans may not immediately be familiar with. As Bears kicker Cairo Santos was preparing for a field goal attempt as time was winding down in the 2nd quarter, Gill brought a towel onto the field in an attempt to wipe off the ball, given the fact that the playing surface resembled something closer to the ocean floor rather than a football field.
Gill would be whistled for unsportsmanlike conduct and was subsequently forced to punt the ball away. The Bears still found themselves trailing by a 7-0 score.
shown: a 15-yard penalty for illegal towel use. go Bears pic.twitter.com/gIcaHqEIKP
— Christian D'Andrea (@TrainIsland) September 11, 2022
Bears rookie Trenton Gill was whistled for a bizarre NFL rule
As referee Clay Martin put it:
“He brought a towel out on the field in a dead-ball period to wipe the field down.”
Soldier Field employees were seen prior to the game with squeegees attempting to clear the field of the rain following the downpour that had it soaked. And unfortunately for Gill and the Bears, rules prohibited any attempt for them to try and dry the ball off.
And not surprisingly, it wasn't long before the reactions to the interesting turn of events began pouring in from fans and pundits alike.
No Fun League strikes again. Trenton Gill, the Bears holder, flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct because, get this, he brought a towel out to wipe down the field. Which is more than a little wet.
— Nancy Armour (@nrarmour) September 11, 2022
Did you know it's illegal to bring a towel onto the field to wipe down the spot as an NFL holder? Because I did not, nor did Bears rookie punter Trenton Gill.
— Chris Emma (@CEmma670) September 11, 2022
The ref when he called Trenton Gill for illegal use of a towel pic.twitter.com/phjRN4UUdx
— Kenzie Possee (@KenziePossee) September 11, 2022
THE AUDACITY on Trenton Gill to bring a towel onto the field. Most unsportsmanlike thing I’ve ever seen
— Noah Phalen (@Noahp245) September 11, 2022
However, the Bears have managed to take the lead away from the 49ers in the 3rd quarter, currently enjoying a 13-10 lead.