One-hundred thousand dollars and a potential forfeiture of a future pick in the NFL Draft … that’s what Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin received for his role in a controversial play during a 73-yard kickoff return in Thanksgiving night’s showdown against the Baltimore Ravens.
It’s hard to determine whether or not Jacoby Jones was going to score on the play if Tomlin hadn’t stepped on the field of play, but did all sides of this argument get what they deserved?
The fine for Tomlin? Spot on. A six-figure hit on his salary makes senses as he potentially affected the outcome of the football game. Thankfully, the Ravens still came away victorious 22-20 and Tomlin held himself accountable as he usually does. It remains to be seen whether or not his actions were intentional and that will probably never be discovered.
There are two things that have been lost in this situation: first, the draft pick penalty, if it happens, is completely unnecessary. Second, the NFL and their officials are being given a pass for blowing the call.
Penalizing the Steelers with the loss of a draft pick would be the equivalent of charging Tomlin for a crime he did not commit. He stepped on the field, whether intentional or not, and impeded the pathway of a kick returner to the end zone. That’s it. It is up to the officials at that point to be in the correct position and to throw a flag. If the NFL didn’t want this situation to linger, they would have put the kibosh on the draft pick penalty or it would have been handed down immediately. This story’s shelf life will linger and it shouldn’t.
The moral of this story?
Tomlin was wrong, but the NFL is also wrong if they take away a draft pick, and the officials were egregious in their involvement in the play. Hopefully, finality will be met with this situation in the near future.