Dean Blandino Says Mike Tomlin Should Have Been Flagged On Kickoff Return

Dean Blandino, the NFL’s vice president of officiating, said Tuesday on NFL Total Access, that Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin should have been penalized when he impeded that path of Baltimore Ravens returner Jacoby Jones during a third quarter kickoff return.

“Anytime 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.”

Tomlin, as many well know, forced Jones to slightly alter the direction of his return as he came up the left sideline when he stepped onto the field prior to jumping off of it. Jones wound up being tackled by cornerback Cortez Allen and the Ravens ensuing drive eventually stalled and resulted in a field goal.

On Tuesday, Tomlin called his actions “embarrassing, inexcusable, illegal and a blunder.” In addition, the head coach said that while the incident was not intentional, he expects to be disciplined by the league.

No word has come down from the league office as of yet, but it could by this time on Wednesday. While Tomlin is expected to be fined heavily, the Steelers are not expected to be docked a draft pick.

“I would hope they would understand that the actions were a personal blunder of mine, that they wouldn’t penalize the organization in response to it,” Tomlin said. “But I also understand, in terms of being the head coach of this organization, there are responsibilities that come with that.”

  • RMSteeler

    I want to see what the fine is on the Ravens player that targeted Bell on the goal line. Should also have been an ejection. No flag on that play even though almost every ref watched it. Have never seen a penalty called on review of a play. If it’s not allowed under rules, the rules committee should consider it on intentional helmet to helmet and targeting instances, as well as egregious personal fouls. Teams may not support it since it could go both ways.

  • steeltown

    Yes, yes, it is technically illegal to be on the white line, but EVERY Coach and a lot of players do it every week. I have no problem if the League wants to enforce the rule and start handing out penalties, but lets be consistent about it

  • dgh57

    I think the reason a flag wasn’t thrown was because Cortez Allen was going to make a play regardless.

  • 2443scott

    i agree he should of been flaged …but in saying that a ref running with the player ran right along side line and past tomlin so if tomlin was where he shouldnt of been and we agree was case why wasnt he flaged …so in my opinion the ref who works for nfl is also the blame here and that shoud be considered when what ever pentaly the nfl dishes out ….some these refs on side lines dont enforce this rule 3/4th of the time and 1/4 other time do ….so there is another thought on this if the rule is dont go on field or white part side line and they do flag it dont wait till it happens with tomlin then say lets get him make him a example and over fine him for first offence…….but nfl and steelers arent friends in no way so i expect the worst for tomlin.