The NFL will review the incident where Pittsburgh Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin stepped onto the field while Ravens Jacoby Jones was running down the sideline during a kick return. A decision will be made during the week.
The incident took place in the 3rd quarter on Thanksgiving day. The Ravens was playing at M&T Bank Stadium on a cold evening. The Steelers were down 13-7. Jones was sprinting down the sideline from a 73 yard kickoff return and Jones nearly collided with Tomlin, who had his back to the game. Jones was forced to cut right and was tackled by cornerback Cortez Allen. Later, Tomlin can be seen on the replay camera smiling.
Tomlin said in a statement, “I always watch the returns on the Jumbotron. It provides better perspective for me. I lost my placement as he broke free and saw at the last second how close I was to the field of play.” He also stated that he did not feel like he interfered with Jones. Yeah, right. A head coach that “lost track” of where to stand on the field? Not likely.
During a news interview, Jacoby Jones said, “I eased up.” Jones told NFL Network’s “NFL AM” on Friday. “At the time when I was looking at him, I was like, ‘I ain’t going to run through him.’ Everybody was like, ‘You should’ve ran over him,’ and I’m like, ‘Man, good God, I’m not that type of person.'”
According to the NFL handbook, Coach Tomlin should have been flagged for interference.
Article #1 – If any non-player, including photographers, reporters, employees, police or spectators, enters the field of play or end zones, and in the judgement of an official said party or parties interfere with the play, the Referee, after consulting his crew (13-1-7 and 15-1-6), shall enforce any such penalty or score as the interference warrants.
Because Tomlin was not flagged for a penalty, the official who ran along with the play could be downgraded, according to ESPN.
Tomlin was asked if he was aware of the rules that everyone has to stand behind the white line that separates the sidelines from the playing field. His remark to reporters was “Tell me something I don’t know. I do it quite often, like everybody else in the National Football League. I was wrong. I accept responsibility for it.”
I think he did it on purpose. If he looks at the Jumbotron, he should have seen his position and Jacoby Jones’ position on the field. He admitted that he violates the rules all the time. If he did not think he interfered with Jones, why did he jump back? Why was his back to the play? I find his cocky, nonchalant behavior deserving of a hefty fine, regardless of whether he did it on purpose or not. So what his team has more Superbowl rings or AFC championships? The Pittsburgh Steelers is also the oldest franchise in the AFC, dating back to 1933. They should be well established, being around that long. Mike Tomlin is not responsible for all of these championships, either. He has only been Head coach since 2007.
This “leader” admittedly violates the rules all the time because everyone else does it. I feel like what he did demonstrates poor taste and unsportsmanlike conduct. What kind of leader is that? Maybe his leadership, or lack thereof, can explain their disappointing season.This play will go down in Raven history. The rivarly continues.