Tomlin severely punished for sideline incident


December 10, 2013

There is much controversy over an incident involving Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin. During the Thanksgiving game between the Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens, Tomlin wandered too far onto the field during a 73-yard kickoff return by Baltimore wide receiver Jacoby Jones. In the third quarter, Jones had an open field in front of him on a kickoff return, and it appeared that he was going to take it all the way. There was just one person in his way, Mike Tomlin. Tomlin was watching the play unfold on the Jumbotron when he stepped directly into Jones’ path, causing Jones to change his direction, slowing him down. Jones was then tackled by Steelers defensive back, Cortez Allen.

Immediately Jones began complaining about Tomlin’s interference. Nothing was done about it during the game, but further viewing of the video footage sparked some controversy. Tomlin immediately claimed that this was completely unintentional, but others saw it differently. It appeared that Tomlin had taken a step onto the field right before Jones crossed his path. Tomlin then jumped out of the way at the last second.

Despite Tomlin’s apology and denial of doing it intentionally, the league still felt that some form of punishment was necessary. I for one found the punishment to be cruel and excessive. The league made the decision to fine Tomlin $100,000 for his sideline mishap. Along with this fine, the league is considering taking away one of the Steelers’ draft picks. Although Tomlin is a wealthy man, that is still a considerable amount of money for one incident. Also, I don’t believe that the entire team should be punished by missing out on a draft pick.

Tomlin claims that he was watching the Jumbotron as it provides him with a better perspective of the field. Looking at a screen like that can be disorienting, so I can understand Tomlin’s argument. However, the way he stepped towards the field did look suspicious. Head Coach of the New England Patriots Bill Belichick stood up for Tomlin in a recent interview, saying that Tomlin is not the first coach to end up on the other side of the sidelines. He said that he has had several incidents like this, including being run over by a receiver after a completed pass.

No matter how you see it, most people can probably agree that this punishment is unnecessarily harsh. Even if it was on purpose, $100,000 seems a little excessive. Also, the idea of losing a draft pick will likely fire up Steeler fans.

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