This past Sunday, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens engaged in a clash between two bitter rivals of the AFC North. But, this wasn’t just any game between the black and yellow and defending Super Bowl champs. This one was to gain control of their own playoff destinies. The winner could then control their playoff fate as they each fought for the sixth and final seed in the AFC.
In the third quarter of this one, though, things took one of the more interesting turns we’ve seen all season long. On a 73-yard kickoff return by Jacoby Jones, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin was caught in a daze while watching the return man gash his special teams unit. Tomlin had blatantly stepped onto the field of play, resulting in a move by Jones to avoid a collision.
Jones was eventually tackled inside the 30-yard line and immediately, fans began to question the situation and whether or not Tomlin’s interference caused a touchdown-saving scenario. In reality, Jones was going to be caught either way as he was being chased down by Steelers defenders taking a fantastic angle on him. But, that’s besides the point here: Tomlin violated league rules.
Whether or not the flag was right or wrong (most agree that it was supposed to be thrown), Tomlin knew he was going to be hit with a fine. How big, though?
Well, Wednesday the league ruled that Tomlin be hit with a whopping $100,000 fine for his actions — the largest fine on a coach since Bill Belichick had $500,000 snatched from him amidst the “spygate” debacle.
Though the Ravens got the win and the call did not wind up costing them the game, Baltimore should still wake up smiling on Wednesday; and Thursday, and Friday, and Saturday — heck, the smile probably won’t go away anytime soon. Adding insult to injury for the Steelers can’t make Baltimore happy enough. Now that they control their own destiny, for the most part, in the final spot of the AFC playoff picture, the Ravens can feel all the more satisfied knowing their biggest rival’s head coach just got slapped with an enormous fine.