The Pittsburgh Steelers dropped a game-tying two-point conversion attempt at the end of their Thanksgiving Day match up against the division rival Baltimore Ravens, but it was a sideline mishap with head coach Mike Tomlin that left everyone talking.
As Ravens kick returner Jacoby Jones made his way down the sidelines for what appeared to be a kickoff return for a touchdown, Tomlin stepped out on to the field and interfered with the pay. Tomlin forced Jones to step inside, where he was caught from behind by the Steelers coverage team.
Tomlin insists it was simply him losing his place on the sideline as he watched the play go down on the jumbotron, but that doesn’t mean that the Steelers and their coach will avoid some serious punishment from the league.
According to CBS Sports, the Steelers fear that they will be facing hefty fines and potentially the loss of a draft pick for the incident.
According to a league source and is likely to result in stiff financial penalties for the coach and the team, and perhaps the forfeiture of a draft pick.
Internally, the Steelers are also concerned that their coach’s action will cost them a draft pick, sources said, something they do not take lightly, even in the late rounds (where the loss of pick would come).
This was a game on national television, with massive playoff implications, and the review is expected to be completed on Monday. There has been no communication with Tomlin on the matter and none is expected. Players, for instance, are not asked for comment to discern intent or provide excuses prior to them receiving on-field discipline, though Tomlin would of course be eligible to appeal and make his voice heard at that time.
In the past, low-level Jets assistant coach Sal Alosi interfered with a player during a return and the team was fined $100,000 (Alosi was later fired, and, as a lower-waged employee, was not hit with a direct fine himself by the league but was fined $25,000 by the Jets and suspended for the remainder of the season). However, Tomlin is a well-tenured, highly compensated Super Bowl winning coach, and the standard he faces will be much more rigorous as someone who is the leader of that team and sets an example for other players and coaches alike.
These punishments would obviously be huge for the franchise, which is already dealing with a very disappointing season.
We should find out more this week as the NFL completes their review of the Tomlin situation, but it isn’t looking good for Pittsburgh.
Here is a GIF of the sideline incident that could lead to the punishment, so check it out and let us know what punishment you think Tomlin and the Steelers should face by sounding off in the comments section below: