Adam Schefter of ESPN reports on Friday that league sources are saying Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin could be subject to a fine for his actions on the kickoff in the in 22-20 loss Thursday night to the Baltimore Ravens. According to Schefter, the play will be reviewed by the league for discipline over the next week.
Tomlin, who on the kickoff return by Jacoby Jones up the left sideline was standing inches away from the playing field, took an initial step onto the field in front of Jones before hoping back out of bounds. While we really don’t know for sure, Tomlin’s actions very well could have prevented Jones from scoring as the returnman did move back inside. Steelers cornerback Cortez Allen made the tackle on Jones after the sudden move inside, but likely would have hawked him down regardless.
After the game, Tomlin answered several questions about his actions and he accepted responsibility for them. Tomlin claimed that he usually watches returns on the big stadium screens as it gives him a better perspective of what’s happening. While he admitted knowing the rule about not being allowed to stand directly on the sideline during plays, he claimed his move onto the field and then off was not intentional.
If you watch the gif below, you will see that Tomlin’s first move is indeed onto the field before hoping back off of it. The Ravens players, for the most part, believe Tomlin’s actions were done with the purpose of interfering with Jones and it’s hard to disagree with them when you look at all of the camera angles.
Rest assured, Tomlin will be fined heavily for this and you can bet the league will be sending out a memo this week to not only the coaches, but the officials as well. I expect we will see a penalty or two called over the course of the remaining several weeks.