NBC color commentator Cris Collinsworth learned Wednesday that “Put a ring on it,” might have a slightly different meaning in Pittsburgh, home of the six-time Super Bowl champion Steelers.
Collinsworth, known for his analysis during the network’s NFL broadcasts, drew backlash on social media Wednesday for remarks that some deemed as sexist.
The former Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver revealed he was “blown away” to learn that many women in Pittsburgh are actually knowledgeable about football.
It happened during the second quarter of Wednesday’s Steelers-Baltimore Ravens game, which had been rescheduled three times because of coronavirus concerns. Collinsworth talked with broadcast partner Mike Tirico about conversations he had with Steelers fans before the contest.
“Everybody’s a fan,” Collinsworth said. “In particular the ladies that I met. They have really specific questions about the game, and I’m like, ‘Wow, you’re just blown away by how strong the fans are in this town.'”
Users on social media were quick to criticize his comments and point out that women make up a large portion of the NFL’s fan base.
“Me hearing Cris Collinsworth say in 2020 that he’s surprised that women in Pittsburgh are passionate about sports,” one user wrote, sharing a GIF of a seemingly disappointed Chrissy Teigen.
“Someone tell Cris Collinsworth that being blown away by women who like football and are knowledgeable Steelers fans isn’t the compliment he thinks it is,” another replied.
“I care less about Cris Collinsworth’s “gee women know football” comment and more about the fact I have to listen to his annoying voice and commentary every week,” another wrote.
While his comments were likely intended as a compliment, some deemed them surprising considering he has worked with veteran female journalists over the years, including Andrea Kremer and NBC “Sunday Night Football” sideline reporter Michele Tafoya.
Collinsworth was also criticized for comments made during the broadcast after he was asked by Tirico whether it was the right call to squeeze the game in on Wednesday afternoon, despite a coronavirus outbreak slamming the Ravens organization.
“I’m the worst person to ask that question,” Collinsworth responded. “Because I always think they should go play. I always want to go outside and do the things. … I understand the danger, but I have yet to have anybody tell me that playing football outside is spreading the disease.”
The Steelers defeated the Ravens — their longtime AFC North rival — 19-14 on Wednesday, despite the game being rescheduled three times. First scheduled on Thanksgiving, the game was postponed to Sunday, then from Sunday to Tuesday, and eventually from Tuesday to Wednesday.
The Ravens (6-5) lost their third straight while playing without more than a dozen players on the reserve/COVID-19 list, including reigning NFL MVP Lamar Jackson and running backs Mark Ingram and J.K. Dobbins.
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw for 266 yards, including a fourth-quarter touchdown to wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, and the team improved to 11-0.
Fox News’ Daniel Canova and the Associated Press contributed to this report