In the third quarter of a then 13-7 football game it appeared as if Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin impeded the progress of Ravens kick returner Jacoby Jones on a 73-yard kick return. The fallout from the events on the field was epic.
Here’s what Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco had to say to reporters following the game.
“Mike Tomlin, stopped us one time I think,” Flacco said jokingly in regards to the 73-yard kickoff return where Tomlin appeared to interfere with Jacoby Jones. “I took some flak for joking around in the Super Bowl in saying that ‘maybe you should run on the field and tackle somebody if this guy breaks it.’ And I kind of took flak for that. That’s exactly what he just did. He was looking at the big screen the whole entire time. He knew where he was… he knew where Jacoby was… he pulled my move. He did what I thought we should do.”
Pretty funny that Flacco compared the situation in Super Bowl XLVII when he suggested his teammates do the same thing to Ted Ginn Jr. as he could have potentially returned a kickoff for a touchdown for the San Francisco 49ers. It’s funny how such an odd set of circumstances can happen like this to the Ravens. Keep in mind, this also happened against the New York Jets during a 37-yard punt return by Jones as the Jets were flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct.
The return man himself had this take.
“Once I broke, I hit the hole and I’m running outside I’m looking,” Jones said. “I promise you I’m looking at him the whole time. I’m like, ‘does he know he’s on the field?’ I’m running and I’m looking and it crossed me like ‘is he gonna move?’ I just weaved to get out of the way and it broke my stride a little bit, but I still shouldn’t have [gotten] caught. But, it is what it is… he made the tackle. If I was [Tomlin] I’d do the same thing knowing I was back there.”
When asked about whether or not the possible interference affected his ability to return the kick, Jones still held himself accountable.
“Nah, I don’t like to blame other people for actions,” Jones told reporters. “I still should have scored. I should have broke the tackle. As long as we got the ‘W’, I’m fine… that’s all that matters.”
Tomlin didn’t talk with Jones about the play after the game, but given how close the outcome ended up being he is lucky he game wasn’t decided because of this. He should have been flagged, warned, fined — something. To go away and laugh it off like a joke was despicable and shows how he doesn’t care or understand the rules of football. Coaches go on the field all the time, but if his excuse was he likes to watch kicks on the jumbotron, here’s a tip: the screen is already pretty big. Unless you’re blind, back up off the field so the players can play. Or, get some contacts or glasses.
Jacoby said it best when it was all said and done.
“Coaches are smart nowadays,” Jones said.” You gotta do what you gotta do to get a win out here. It’s hard out here to win in these streets.”