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Saturday, April 21, 2018

Mike Tomlin interference play could reportedly cost Steelers a draft pick


The officiating crew who worked Thursday night’s game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens missed a huge call when Mike Tomlin was not flagged for interfering with Jacoby Jones’ kick return in the third quarter. Replays clearly showed that Tomlin was on the field and may have forced Jones to alter his route. However, it is not too late for Tomlin to be penalized, and his mistake could cost the Steelers.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the NFL is considering taking disciplinary action against Tomlin and the Steelers that could include a six-figure fine and the loss of a draft pick. The discipline should come this week, and Tomlin is not expected to be suspended.

In 2010, New York Jets strength and conditioning coach Sal Alosi tripped a Miami Dolphins player who was running down the sideline during a kick. The team was fined $100,000.

As Schefter pointed out, it is particularly disturbing for the NFL that Tomlin is the newest member of the league’s competition committee. While Tomlin was not looking at the play and no flag was thrown, Joe Flacco and others have accused the Steelers coach of watching the stadium scoreboard and knowing where Jones was during the play. Flacco believes Tomlin stood in the way intentionally.

Fortunately for the NFL, the Ravens went on to beat the Steelers. We can only imagine the type of controversy that would have been created if Pittsburgh won after Tomlin potentially prevented a Baltimore touchdown. Still, forfeiting a draft pick would be a harsh penalty that seems unlikely. My guess is Tomlin and/or the team will only be fined.

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