Posted December 04, 2013

Mike Tomlin fined $100,000 for sideline incident with Jacoby Jones

AFC North, Baltimore Ravens, Pittsburgh Steelers
Mike Tomlin's wallet is quite a bit lighter today.

Mike Tomlin’s bank account will be quite a bit smaller in the near future. (Joe Sargent/Getty Images)

Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin has been fined $100,000 by NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Ray Anderson for stepping onto the field during his team’s 22-20 loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Thanksgiving night. With 6:26 left in the third quarter of the game, Ravens receiver Jacoby Jones took a kickoff back and had to alter his path because Tomlin had — inadvertently or not, depending on how you want to look at it — gone past the sideline boundary. Jones returned the kick 73 yards, but was tackled by defensive back Cortez Allen on the play, and Baltimore had to settle for a field goal on the drive.

In the statement accompanying the fine, the league said that the removal or alteration of draft picks for the Steelers in 2014 could still be in play because the act affected play on the field. The only larger fine ever given to a head coach in NFL history was the $500,000 levied against Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots for his role in the Spygate scandal.

“As I stated yesterday, I take full responsibility for my actions, and I apologize for causing negative attention to the Pittsburgh Steelers organization,” Tomlin said in a team-released statement. “I accept the penalty that I received. I will no longer address this issue as I am preparing for an important game this Sunday against the Miami Dolphins.”

In December 2010, the league fined the New York Jets the same amount after a sideline wall established by strength coach Sal Alosi resulted in Alosi tripping Dolphins cornerback Nolan Carroll. Alosi was suspended indefinitely by the team and resigned in January 2011.

On Tuesday, Tomlin held an extended version of his normal press conference in which he read a long statement about the incident and took questions for about 20 minutes. While Tomlin insisted that he did not intentionally attempt to affect Jones’ return, he certainly was contrite.

“I thought I’d break from my normal routine and do what’s appropriate under the circumstances,” he said. “I thought I’d start by outlining the kickoff coverage play from Thursday night, and make a statement regarding my actions and thoughts surrounding that, and then provide you guys with the opportunity to ask any questions you may have.

“My descriptions of my actions on that play are a lot of things — embarrassing, inexcusable, illegal, a blunder, being many of the things I’d use to describe it. I take full responsibility for my actions on that play. I acknowledge that my actions unfortunately became part of the play. I also embrace that as head coaches, we’re held to the highest standards of conduct, and I realize that that blunder fell woefully short of that expectation. In that vein, I embrace the responsibilities that come with my position, and understand the repercussions from a blunder of that nature. I also understand that with my position comes the charge of preserving and protecting the integrity of the game of football. My biggest error was not realizing that that play jeopardized the integrity of the game from a perception standpoint.”

However, Tomlin’s not the only one who goofed on this play, and that’s important to note. On the Tuesday edition of NFL Network’s Total Access, VP of Officiating Dean Blandino admitted that Clete Blakeman’s crew should have thrown a flag on Tomlin’s obstruction.

“Any time a player or a coach from the sideline is in this white area, that’s a 15-yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct,” Blandino said. “If they interfere with the play, it could be what’s called a ‘palpably unfair act.’

“In that instance, the referee could basically penalize the team whatever he deems equitable, which could include giving the Ravens a touchdown. That’s not the case here, but certainly coach Tomlin was in the white. He should have been flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct.”

It could be argued that had Blakeman’s crew made the correct call on the field, the furor over Tomlin’s blunder would have been far less of an uproar. As much as Tomlin failed to keep himself in check, Blakeman and his crew also failed in the most basic charge given to officials — to keep control of the game at all times. If Tomlin is going to get a heavy fine, everyone on Blakeman’s crew should as well.

Last Friday, New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said that Tomlin isn’t the only head coach ever to be on the wrong side of the sideline.

“Yeah, I’ve been blown up a couple times. There’s one play in particular where I was kind of watching the pass rush of the front and the ball was thrown. I didn’t really follow the ball that quickly and all the sudden the guy caught it and was right on top of me and [I] ended up under the Gatorade bench. Obviously if you’re watching the ball, it shouldn’t be that big of a problem. But if you’re trying to watch something else … Obviously we have to give the officials and the players room to play. Sometimes that just happens where you get guys caught up a little bit on the sideline. But yeah, I saw the play [Thursday] night. I was like, ‘Oh my God, yeah.’ That could easily happen to any of us. It’s a good lesson, I have to be careful.”

74 comments
sldghammer
sldghammer

This is the biggest thing in NFL history. I can't believe no one has thought to "Dismantle the Franchise"

wileycoyote1
wileycoyote1

how smart are you barry soetoro, i know who u really are, ha, ha. so are u smarter than tomlin ???.....

houndstoothunderwear
houndstoothunderwear

the writer of this article is obviously taking a very jewish attitude toward it all. Yo notice you never se jewish football coaches...too many non kosher wieners in the locker room and so little time to choose

get rid of this website while you're at it also...especially the chat forums



JMP878
JMP878

The only thing that I want to see Tomlin do is DRAFT WISELY.  He has to stop riding on Cowher's coattails.

aarontamasy
aarontamasy

I want Tomlin on the f#cking field every Sunday. Clip board and stupid cackle laugh and all. Then your seein the real boys in the hood sort it out like the brothers do when trying to div up gang turf.

nbpt
nbpt

There's one way to determine if Tomlin is telling the truth or not and that's to look at prior games, or other kick-offs in the same game. Coaches are creatures of habit. Does he stand in the same place on all kick-offs? If he does, then he probably made a stupid mistake. If he did it on that one play, then the guy is a flat out liar and got off with a light fine.

j7apple
j7apple

Get over this already. Its over....Next

sldghammer
sldghammer

Mike Tomlin is "all grown up".  It's laughable how those with no integrity can question his.

sldghammer
sldghammer

Steelers willing to give up 2 of 6 Lombardi's if you will just shut up

friendly--neighborhood--scrawler
friendly--neighborhood--scrawler

I  cannot  believe this is still a story... are you people really that dumb??? 

this is NOTHING compared to The Patriots cheating / covered up by the NFL by destroying the evidence and giving the Pats a slap on the wrist... because if the NFL showed us the evidence we would see how bad it was and demand the Pats stripped of their superbowls and the NFL  did not want to dive into that hornet nests...  As bad as the Pats the NFL  allowing Chuck to take the Tampa job... the defenders were calling out the Raiders play, does that sound like even or fair play to you.... that is not football.... so when i see people making a big deal about something that did not affect the outcome i just laugh

FredFlintsone
FredFlintsone

And his team didn't even win. Get a camera next time,takes longer to catch on

JMP878
JMP878

After 56 years, I am DONE with the $9 BILLION DOLLAR NFL LEAGUE, which will eventually become the "panty league". 

Commissioner: I DON'T HAVE A CLUE -I-justwantmymoney-Goodell, with his almost $30 mil/salary, DISGUSTS ME.   His complete denial of concussions wants me to take him out with a throng of  Pittsburgh Defensive Linemen.

His fine on Tomlin is so lame.

Let's take our cities back and the overpaid NFL/NBA/MLB pay.

jbc123
jbc123

Tomlin has said that he ended up on the field because it's his habit to watch the return on the Jumbotron, and he lost track as to his location. Has anyone gone to older game  tape's and seen if this is true? Somewhere there has to be video of past returns to see if he's telling the truth. If he did just wander into the play, it's a lot different than if he did it on purpose.

seamillguesthouse
seamillguesthouse

A fine of 100k for Tomlin is like me paying a speeding ticket....not a life changer.

The real fine is the fact he was caught trying to cheat   on Thanksgiving Day !!! 

CobyPreimesberger
CobyPreimesberger

plus it's funny how hartman and o'brein don't also bring up rex ryan who also was flagged for getting in the way of an offical and had blakeman thrown the flag, guess what it would've died right there, as there would've been no fine

CobyPreimesberger
CobyPreimesberger

plus harbaugh has even chimed in and said it was unintentioal

me21
me21

I think this thing is so overblown that it is childish.  If he was in the wrong stop trying to guess if he was deliberately in the way or if it was an accident and fine him.  This thing is such an unimportant issue that the attention it got was vastly overdone by everyone including foolish fans who make a big deal out of it.  

The immaturity of those who are attacking Tomlin is inexcusable for people claiming to be adults.  If you are this blown away by something this simple - I don't believe you would ever be able to handle something really serious in life.  Grow up and let's get on with football!

To equate this with spygate is absurd.  I believe those who are calling for the Steelers to lose a pick over this are losers who the Steelers have beaten convincingly over the years or pseudo-fans who aren't really Steeler fans at all.  

I think the hit on Leveon Bell deserves far more attention than this trivial incident.  Each team lost a potential touchdown over these two incidents.  I think it's fair exchange, and I am tired of seeing all this simplistic and uncalled for attention the Tomlin incident is getting.

JC9
JC9

in some ways, this incident (accidental or intentional) is as bad as spygate because it ACTUALLY affected a play during the game. if spygate resulted in loss of picks, shouldn't this as well...

45yearCowboyFan
45yearCowboyFan

If there is proof it was intentional then the fine is adequate.  If it was an honest mistake then fine seems high.  

Refs should do a better job calling this penalty early and often and the problem will go away, coaches AND players will stay out of the "no fly zone"

Rickapolis
Rickapolis

Not nearly enough. Do you think that any coach on any team wouldn't happily pay 100 large (which the team will pay) to make the playoffs?  The more I think about it the more I'm convinced you HAVE to take a pick and suspend Tomlin in the bargain.  A team makes millions by getting to the playoffs and this fine, in the scope of the NFL's finances, is chump change. Not nearly enough.

Jon8
Jon8

Done deal, move on!

Now where is Harbaugh's fine for constantly standing on the field and showing-up and intimidating the Officials?!

Hokieduck
Hokieduck

@houndstoothunderwear What the heck does ethnicity have to do with this?  Your comments smack loudly of anti-semitism.  Very offensive.

houndstoothunderwear
houndstoothunderwear

I saw the typos I figure they don't matter that much except little jewish a-hole that patrol these boards making ethnic and sexjokes about everything except themselves (who are the biggest ethnic and sex jokes of all)

so I refuse to asterisk...it beats the spelling most of you all have anyway

Voiceover310
Voiceover310

@JMP878 Coach doesn't have the final say in who is drafted and who isn't. They have a whole team of people who work on that stuff. 

Bottom of the Pile
Bottom of the Pile

nbpt..Good point!!!....that came out in the press conference.The league has said they have reviewed numerous occasion where Tomlin DID wander close or onto the field in similar situations ....and also the "smirk" is taken out of context.He was reacting to Raven fans chanting at him after repeated showing of the play.After he laughed at the chant...the crowd actually responded in kind.

MMoney0021
MMoney0021

@friendly--neighborhood--scrawler Conspiracy theories never work bud.  Mr. Rule with an Iron Fist, Roger Goodell is just going to give the Pats a free pass?  The funny part is the loss of a first round pick is complete BS when you take into consideration other teams were guilty of the same rule infraction, Hall of Fame coaches have gone on record saying this was common practice.  Had it been a rule broken by only one team, a memo to the entire league would not have been sent out.  

Tomlin cost a team 4 points on the scoreboard.  Had that effected the outcome of a game, your right this would be nothing compared to Spygate.  It would be much WORSE.  To this day, you cannot come up with one competitive advantage that taping from the sidelines gives an opponent versus taping from the booth.  It is all opinion and all theory.  

nbpt
nbpt

@JMP878 . . . yeah, right . . . get over it.

Bottom of the Pile
Bottom of the Pile

@jbc123.Good point!!!....that came out in the press conference.The league has said they have reviewed numerous occasion where Tomlin DID wander close or onto the field in similar situations ....and also the "smirk" is taken out of context.He was reacting to Raven fans chanting at him after repeated showing of the play.After he laughed at the chant...the crowd actually responded in kind.

MMoney0021
MMoney0021

@me21 What I know is this incident cost Baltimore 4 points and had Baltimore lost the game this would be a HUGE incident and losing a draft pick would be 100% justified.  Because Baltimore won the effect of this infraction is minimized.  

But everyone who harps on "Spygate" (plenty coming from butt hurt Steelers fans that still cannot get over 2 AFC Championship losses to the Patriots) still to this day do not understand the actual infraction and still cannot point out to even 1 point on the scoreboard being affected by taping from the sidelines versus taping from the booth.  All it serves as is an excuse for opposing fans to use to try and minimize the success the Pats have had over the years.  

Tomlin was standing there after the play with a grin on his face as if he knew exactly what he was doing (just my opinion).  That would be more classified as cheating than taping from an illegal position inside the stadium which I would classify as a violation of NFL rules.

CobyPreimesberger
CobyPreimesberger

@JC9 it only resulted in the loss of there one pick, #31, and it didn't hurt the patriots at all, why because of a previous trade they had done with the 49ers which resulted in the pats still having a first round pick, that oh yeah was #10

hotkeynmd
hotkeynmd

@45yearCowboyFan I disagree.  Set the example.  It doesn't matter whether it was intentional or not.  It happened.  Personally, I think $100K is getting off easy.  The owners will probably pay it for him.  They should have suspended him a game...and still let them keep their draft pick.  After all, the offense is his... not something the rest of the team should suffer from.

Jon8
Jon8

Yeah let's throw him out of the league! Ban him from seeing his children for 5 years! Take away his right to vote!

Jon8
Jon8

I speak of SF's Harbaugh not Baltimore's!

gymviking
gymviking

@Jon8 Not going to be one. Not against the rules. Enjoy your day.

EricHuttinger
EricHuttinger

@MMoney0021 @me21 "Every now and then I'd get a sheet, one hour before the game, with a list of audibles for our opponent," (Ted) Johnson said in November 2005. "I don't know how, but they just showed up."


KeysSteven
KeysSteven

@Jon8 Geez, c'mon Jon.  Don't ya' think that's a little rough on the guy?  I mean, taking away his "right to vote?"  Mikes' not an ex-felon.

Jon8
Jon8

A coach may not stand on the field unless there is a time out!

Got it?!

MMoney0021
MMoney0021

@EricHuttinger @MMoney0021Again, even if true (love to see a source), how do you know those were not obtained through taping from the booth, watching film etc?  Again not one point can be accounted for on the scoreboard due to the effects of spygate being an opinion rather than a fact.  Taping and watching film of your opponent is not illegal by any means.  

Jon8
Jon8

I can't tell from your post whether you realize my response was overtly sarcastic!!