Tomlin Too Pissed To Notice Steelers Were Shorted Eight Seconds On Final Scoring Drive

During the final kickoff return by Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders this past Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens, the officials ruled that he stepped out of bounds at the Pittsburgh 37 yard-line and thus the touchdown was negated.

During his Tuesday press conference, head coach Mike Tomlin was asked Tuesday why that play was not reviewed.

“There was no official word,” said Tomlin. “What Bill [Leavy] told me, the white hat in stadium, is that there was no mechanism in place to review it based on how the play was officiated.”

Tomlin was then asked if it should have been automatically reviewed because it was a scoring play and the head coach offered the appropriate response.

“The fact that he called him out of bounds doesn’t make it a scoring play,” said Tomlin. “The fact that he ruled that the guy stepped out of bounds is not a scoring play because of that.”

As it turns out, Tomlin failed to notice the time remaining on the clock before the Steelers offense ran their first play of the ensuing series and screen grabs below show the team was indeed shorted eight seconds.

“I have no idea,” said Tomlin, when asked if the proper time had been put back on the clock. “I was too pissed to notice.”

That certainly isn’t a proper response and had the Steelers needed that extra eight seconds, you can bet this issue would be a big talking point right now, especially if they had lost the game.

The Steelers really should consider hiring someone to sit in the booth upstairs to monitor these kind of things along with other clock related issues and official challenges. Being pissed doesn’t cut it.



  • steeltown

    It’s a moot point, had we only had one or no timeouts left it would’ve been a bigger issue, but to be honest we had too much time left as it was.

    Also, where are the other coaches at this moment, someone could’ve spoken up

  • MP34

    In all the assistants to the assistants, etc. I’ve always said there should be one watching the game clock, and/or/plus the TV viewer perspective. Maybe there is… and this guy should have a line to the HC headset.

  • Chris S

    To think the team doesnt have someone watching these things is just stupid. While the OFFICIALS were the ones who dropped the ball…so did the personal responsible for looking at these things…just like when someone helps out and tells coach to challenge a play. The coach can’t watch the play and the clock and so on at the same time. They have people for that. That person and the officials dropped the ball…but in reality it worked in their favor. So this is a non-issue here.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    Tomlin’s response to being pissed is terrible although very honest but he above all others needs to keep his head on tight as he is the leader.

  • SteelersDepot

    to call it a non-issue after the fact because things played out well is stupid.

  • treeher

    Well, as some have said here, not a moot point. Tomlin would have been ripped a new one had they needed more time to get in FG range, or possibly closer than 42 yards. And it speaks to the future … will he be “too pissed” in a future game and make the same kind of mistake? I agree that there are a bunch of coaches (and players!) who could/should have spoken up. This speaks to accountability, something that both coaches and players need to constantly reaffirm.

  • steeltown

    It’s a moot point, rendered purely academic and has not practical relevance after the fact

  • Nolrog

    It is a moot point. They won the game, so if they got the 8 seconds back, it wouldn’t have mattered. That’s pretty much the definition of a moot point.

  • Nolrog

    Well, the issue is not how it played out for this game (though people who say it’s a non-issue because of this are correct). The issue is that Tomlin screwed himself out of 8 seconds, which could be an issue in a future game. He needs to be more careful that he doesn’t lose time like this because he’s mad his returner stepped out (which he did.)

  • treeher

    You both missed my point about relevance to the future. A moot point would be defined as debatable, however of no significance or relevance. I think the situation is highly relevant to how the coaches perform, especially in a two minute drill situation. What happens next time Tomlin is “too pissed” to notice he’s lost 8 seconds?

  • steeltown

    I doubt it happens again, not after this instance

  • StrengthOfVictory

    What ticked me off was that whoever was calling the game on CBS said that Sanders “clearly” stepped out of bounds. Clearly?! It wasn’t clear AT ALL. In the fuzzy replay, the best someone from their vantage can do is speculate whether the slightest bit of Sanders’ heel is indeed touching the line, or just nearby/hovering above it.

    In general, the game callers automatically siding with the refs is infuriating. It takes stones to say, “That was the wrong call,” and so few of them do it. Pass interference replays are the WORST. A guy can be grabbing, shoving, and hooking in a slow-motion video…while an announcer says “Good no-call.” It’s ridiculous.

  • steeltown

    Agreed. When you watch it in full speed it appears Sanders is running on his toes and his heal is off the ground, of course when you look at instant replays played at reduced speeds the picture is not as clear and it just appears as if his foot is out… its debatable… but I agree

  • natty

    i have found the tues press conferences to be interesting so far this year. tomlin has been more personable and willing to answer questions-expand on thoughts….0-4 start may have humbled him, but difficult to read into it.

    it’s obvious tomlin has struggled with in-game situational management…are quality control folks not involved on game day? would be a good question to ask

  • natty

    that was my issue with the play. side view appeared his heel did not touch, and the end zone view was not clear enough for my liking to clearly state he stepped out.

  • T R

    I really think he said he was pissed as a just a lil joke…I think if he really was that pissed about it, he would not have verbally said it in that matter that he was “To pissed to notice” I think just hell he wanted the time not to be reset cause he pretty much new we had more then enough time to get in to field goal range

  • Jeff

    Thought about it, and I can’t really put this on Tomlin as a mistake. A coach has to have some level of comfortability that the refs are doing their job, so he can focus on his own job.

    I think it would have been impressive if Tomlin would’ve noticed this given the situation (Tie ball game in the 2 minute drill). His focus was on driving down the football field and tieing the ball game. It’s not surprising that people are complaining about this though considering we’ve heard fans displeased with his time management in the past.

    I won’t bash the refs whatsoever though. They have one of the toughest jobs in sports.

  • Jeff

    AGREE ONE ZILLION PERCENT…. I was yelling at my TV haha….. I didn’t know whether his heel touched based on the replays we got, but I know for certain that the announcers couldn’t have been as “sure” as they sounded. We were all looking at the same thing.

  • chris ward

    Surprised none of the coaches noticed it.

  • r4kolb

    Funny that’s the same thing I noticed. My son is on the track team and if anyone knows track cleats don’t have cleats on the heel because when you run your heal never touches. Problem would have been the ruling on the field was he was out and I’m not sure there would have been enough to overturn the call.

  • Jones

    Exactly. From what I saw, it was a bad call, but by the time it had been made, there wasn’t going to be enough to reverse it. Even if they had, I don’t believe the would have called it a TD (if the play was blown dead before Manny reached the EZ – don’t recall if it was),

  • Arthur Branch

    If time would have been a factor someone would have noticed. As it was their goal should have been to milk the clock as they did and kick a field goal. I always thought the Steelers had a guy in the booth to look at replays and things of this nature, like other teams do.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    If that’s the case then it isn’t a big deal and I hope it is.

  • Dr. Doom

    I nearly lost my voice screaming at the ref ” We can’t win with you on the payroll, is your check purple and black” Any how I understand you can’t have that but we won, so i am just going to leave that be.

  • Mike Carroll

    According to Tunch Ilkin the refs screwed up the spot as well, but in the Steelers favor. They put the ball at the 37 but Tunch said Sanders was actually out on the 34.

  • joed32

    They say they blew the whistle when he stepped out but with the crown noise no one heard it. When the whistle blows the play is dead.

  • r4kolb

    I heard the whistle on tv. Told wife it was coming back. I thought the rule now was they are suppose to let it play out as opposed to blowing it dead? Unless that’s on fumbles?

  • cencalsteeler

    I’m sure someone on the staff was in charge of the clock and just plain messed up. I also feel it should be the job of Landry Jones to pay attention to clock management, fore that his part of his grooming and why he receives a weekly check, too. I know Charlie would have let coach know!

  • r4kolb

    If they spotted the ball correctly it would have been on the 2 yard line for the extra point attempt!!!!!!

  • Mike Carroll

    Yeah, I thought it was unclear myself if Sanders really did go out.

  • Dr. Doom

    They have to get a win and they did, look at the tape correct the errors and move on. They were 0-4 for a reason everyone is at fault. From my vantage point Sanders never stepped out of bounds and was a blown call. You could find issues with every coach to be honest and every game from this weekend had some sort of coaching error. Ergo that bone headed onside kick that was poorly timed and executed worse.

  • Rob

    Nailed it. The Cowher teams had folks watching this, remember the non reviewable call about too many men on the field. Bill put a picture of the field in the zebra’s shirt pocket and got fined for it. Instead we obviously have Mr. Oblivious. He seems to have problems with this type of thing a lot, time challenges etc.

  • Johnny Loose

    Sanders is fast enough and smart enough to know how to run on his toes. I think the walls in my house shook as I yelled this at my T.V. It looked like his heel was out over the line but it hadn’t touched the ground. If Sanders were running on his heels down the field, I doubt he would have made it to the endzone. If the refs were so sure, they would have blown the play dead. They weren’t sure so they opted to take it off the board. The announcers seemed so sure that he stepped out while no one really took a second look at it. I’m not saying he for sure didn’t step out, but this kind of ruling along with the failure to add 8 seconds to the clock and others sometimes make me wonder….. At least they kicked some ratbird ace..

  • Super Dave

    I want to know why Harbaugh was allowed to take the amazing Troy Polamalu leaping offsides penalty on the subsequent kickoff. The ball was never kicked, they in effect skipped a play before enforcing a penalty.

    What if Troy did the same thing again, do they penalize 10 yards then? What if the Steelers held, because they already took the 5 yards, do they not get the 10 yards?

    Leavy let Harbaugh get away with a free 5 yards on the kickoff.

  • Eric

    Those are some really good questions.

  • Dan

    Dave’s point still stands. There should be somebody up in the booth to monitor such things while the coach is too pissed, ignorant, distracted, sleepy or focusing on other things to catch them. Presumably there is at least one person whose responsibility it is to review questionable calls, consider options and make a recommendation to Tomlin. This person or people should also monitor clock issues as well.
    At the time of the play, we had not won the game. And when you have the ball in the final seconds of the game and you do not have a lead, you want each of those seconds. Had we been one play short of getting into FG range and ultimately lost, this would have been huge.

  • Kelly A

    Just leave it up to certain people in this fanbase to sour what was an important win. In the grand scheme of things, this is a very moot point. Firstly, the Steelers only had one time out left; thus they could afford to lose those 8 seconds, secondly the fact that we are emphasizing the loss of 8 seconds, even though the bigger picture is that they WON THE GAME, is absurd. The fact is that every aspect of the game they played was extremely stong; their ground game was strong, the blocking was strong, Special teams played well, they got big plays from the defense; yet we are putting emphasis on the fact the Steelers lost 8 seconds off the play clock; perhaps more emphasis should be centered upon the ridiculous nature of the call that was made to call the touchdown back. The only theory I have is that either the person whom wrote this article is a Tomlin hater, or I’m assuming this person is more fit to run the team that the current Steelers administration. But these article nit picking each mistake the coach makes is ridiculous and it’s really not benefiting anyone.

  • Jay Brenner

    He is terrible when it comes to clock management .Always has been. Thank god we did not need the time.

  • SteelersDepot

    You should read here more. If you did, you would know I am a huge Tomlin fan. At the same time, I am very objective and not afraid to call a spade a spade. When you catch a child playing with matches, but he doesn’t burn the house down, you don’t look past the problem. HTH

  • treeher

    Having been a die hard Stiller fan for 55 years, I think I know enough about the game to comment. In this case, the focus is on the future, not the past game. Tomlin tells his players to not make the same mistake twice, and that’s all I’m saying. Besides, 8 seconds is not insignificant.

  • Jerry

    I live in Oklahoma they put the stinking KC Chiefs on here so I didn’t get to watch the game. I did see a replay on my phone and there is a ref in the end zone signaling touchdown on that run back. Should have been reviewable then.

  • Pat Lopez

    Wow, Steelers fans cannot criticize anyone on the Steelers if they win AND If you criticize a Steeler after the Steelers win a game, your theory is that they must be be criticizing that person because they hate the person. The reasoning is the Steelers won and it is a mute point. Agreed, you should not point out errors or mistakes or attempt get better as long as you win the game. Stating that Players and Coaches are infallible as long as they win does not make any sense to me. I thought Tomlin had the players prepared and made the correct adjustments. I think he is one of the top 5 coaches in the league. However, he struggles with time management at the end of the game. He is famous for calling timeouts with 2:02 in the 4th quarter. He or one of the other coaches should have noticed the time they lost. He is a passionate coach and cares about winning. I think he was p/o about the kick off return. It was a mistake that needs to be addressed. I said last year that they should have someone upstairs reviewing the clock and advising coach Tomlin. I am glad Dave pointed this out and hope the Steelers learn from this mistake before it cost them a regular season game, playoff game, or Superbowl Victory

  • AwakenedAngryAmerican

    Improper clock management is NOT a moot point.

    Especially when POOR clock management is a historical and on-going point.
    Based on the fact that the game is over. It can be considered moot. But only in that sense.
    The same weaknesses time and time again regarding poor clock management. That is very worthy of discussion.

  • israelp

    He should also get criticism for his resonse to the issue of losing in Oakland due to travel and time issues. He said he hadn’t thought about it. He damn well HAS TO think about it. It’s part of his job!

    You think he’ll think about it next time he takes a team to London?

  • HarryBackside

    Yes, with the benefit of hindsight, the head coach of an NFL football team not noticing that time should have been added to the clock doesn’t matter. Yes, the Steelers ended up having enough time to win the game, but there was no way of knowing that immediately after Sanders KO return.

    The play speaks to his situational awareness at the time. If one of MT’s players makes a mistake, he’s not going to cut them any slack just because the team won. There’s no reason he should’t be held to the same standard … because the Standard is the Standard.(couldn’t resist!)

  • HarryBackside

    8 seconds is enough time to run a pass play to the sidelines, or the end zone.

  • steeltown

    I can agree with that.. and im not trying to invalidate Bryans point, I agree that someone should be keeping an eye on these sort of things. I trust moving forward they will.

  • steeltown

    Every Coach in the League has made clock management mistakes..hell Andy Reid is historically terrible with clock management, more so than Tomlin ever has been. It doesn’t make it ok by any means and I hope they get it rectified by having an extra set of eyes on the clock at ALL times

  • Wayne Darby

    Cowher was horrible at clock management as well.

  • bonairsfavoriteson


  • Ahmad

    Yeah you can bet Tomlin would have caught major hell had those 8 seconds been needed. He got away with one here and I’m sure he will hold himself accountable for it and try to have his emotions in check in the future. At the same time though, it’s hard to fault Tomlin for being pissed as I’m sure everyone else in Steeler Nation was spitting fire at that moment too. Not only was this a must win game, it was a game against our most bitter rivals and every single point is crucial and the refs could have cost us the game.

  • Steelerbob

    it’s a MOO point, you know, like a cow’s opinion. Doesn’t mean anything.

  • Dr. Doom

    give me a break that was last season who cares

  • Dr. Doom

    I saw a blown up picture he did

  • Fire.Mike.Tomlin

    “From my vantage point Sanders never stepped out of bounds and was a blown call.”
    Is that vantage point watching the game on a slow , low quality stream on a cell phone?

  • Dr. Doom

    I saw a blown up picture on Steelers Depot on Facebook

  • israelp

    It was Tuesday at his press conference.

  • Dr. Doom

    obviously I was referring to the loss smh

  • Chad H

    It’s called brutal honesty. Some people can’t take it and want it sugar coated. Thanks Depot for calling a spade a spade.

  • Fr33th1nk3r

    Another opportunity for Tomlin haters to pounce on…
    Keep in mind, Cowher was not free of clock gaffs himself. I recall a certain Patriots game in 2005 that we lost, because the clock operator at Heinz accidentally gave the Pats an extra :50 at the end of the 4th qtr they should not have had, which they used to score the game-winning field goal.