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Wednesday, December 04, 2013

League hands down Tomlin punishment

Mike Tomlin was fined $100,000 by the NFL on Wednesday with the league leaving open the possibility that some draft picks could also be in play in the future.

The fine was handed out for Tomlin's sideline fiasco in Baltimore that has been replayed to death on the NFL Network and ESPN for the past six days.

For his part, Tomlin apologized again in a statement released on the team web site, adding: "I accept the penalty that I received. I will no longer address this issue as I am preparing for an important game this Sunday against the Miami Dolphins.

Good for Tomlin.

He addressed the situation at length on Tuesday at his press conference. There was really nothing  more to say on the subject.

As for the possible loss of draft picks, I believe the league is leaving that open just in case another film of the incident surfaces or more evidence comes out that proves some kind of intent on Tomlin's part.

I believe it was an honest mistake for which a fine was deserved. The fine was in line with what other head coaches received for past incidents - Mike Tice was fined $100,000 for scalping tickets - though I do believe it could have been more.

@ Some questions were asked on a previous post about Tomlin saying he didn't read the NFL memo that was reportedly released last Wednesday.

Some questioned how that could happen.

The biggest issue is that we don't know what time the reported memo was released.

The day before a road game, the Steelers hold team meetings early in the morning, then a walk through before heading to the airport for a 2:30 p.m. flight.

Once they arrive at the team hotel, they have further team meetings and meetings with the TV network commentators who will be calling the game. Tomlin also has to tape a coaches show for the team radio network sometime in that time period - something that's usually done Friday during a normal week but is done Wednesday in a condensed week such as it was.

Doesn't leave a lot of free time to read memos that come out the day before you play.

@ Brett Keisel was in a walking boot today. He's already been declared as out against Miami. But this appears is if it could be something that could keep him out even longer.


marc said...

dale, you think it was an honest mistake but you also think the fine was in line with past incidents.

however, looking at past incidents when coaches have been suspended or fined (spygate, bounty gate, scalping tickets) none are accidental. if it was accidental then why not a nominal fine ($25,000) and a statement that even though it was an accident he must be more aware.

nope, with the $100k fine they are, as you said, keeping it in line with other incidents. I think it's pretty clear the league thinks he did it intentionally. you can bet they are also clamoring over all the audio and searching for more video to determine the draft picks. actually, I think they will end up losing 1 draft pick when it's all said and done.

Mark said...

@marc: I think draft picks would be a severe overreaction. I hope that cooler heads prevail. Leave that for the next coach to get penalized, now that Tomlin's fine has alerted everyone to pay attention. The NFL wanted to make an example of him; I think $100K has accomplished that.

Others have pointed out that loss of draft picks for past incidents were for events that were long-term and calculated. Tomlin had a split second reaction. (And I do think it is an honest mistake.)

kyle said...

Well, there is no precedent for what the fine would be if the league thought it was an accident. In theory they fine players and coaches for the act not the intent. They have to fine Tomlin as though it was intentional regardless. Otherwise a coach could "trip" into the field and be in the clear. They can't allow that to happen.

I'm not as convinced that the pick will be taken away. It might be. You never know with a league that makes "arbitrary" its modus operandi for all punishments. But it makes very little sense to wait and see the draft order. If the league does that they are saying "If you have a high pick we'll take a later round. If you have a low pick we'll move up a round and take that one. Or we'll move your pick to the end but if somehow you have a late pick it won't be bad enough to just move you back a few spots." That is a completely asinine way of meting out justice. But then, that's kind of how the league does things so maybe I see your point.

phil said...

this tomlin story bores me. presuming to know what was in his mind is just foolish speculation. the only way you can get me to care about this subject is if the steelers lose a draft pick because of it, and it doesn't look like that's going to happen, especially because the Ravens still won the game.

i think we should move on as a fan base. my biggest concern is the distraction this is creating - teams tend to lose the week after the 24 hour news cycle sucks them dry.

marc said...

I actually think that is exactly what they are going to do. they will wait to see where the steelers pick and then make their decision, in conjunction with any other evidence they can dig up.

if they look at the draft board like most teams these days, in terms of points and value, then it does make sense. the 10th pick in the 3rd round is more valuable than the 20th pick in the 3rd round, for example. so instead of saying a 3rd round pick right now (as an example), they will wait and see.

obviously, this is just my opinion, but if they thought it was accidental then I think they would have said so.

marc said...

moving on...

what is Woodley's deal. why does it seem he always takes so long to come back from injuries?

Anonymous said...

I'm not Lamaar Woodley, but there has been ample evidence in the past the he doesn't condition himself all that well. I think that's your answer.

Dale Lolley said...

Marc: This was something that happened in a game. He was in an area where he knew he wasn't supposed to be. No problem with the fine.

I would have a problem with a suspension or loss of draft picks. That, to me, would suggest the league thought he did it on purpose.

As for Woodley, he conditions himself fine. Polamalu missed games with a similar injury. Was that conditioning as well?

Anonymous said...

Too bad about Keisel. It would be great if he could finish the season strong then retire.

Noel said...

I think Woodley doesn't get enough credit. He drops into coverage an awful lot and who's to say he wouldn't have performed just as well as Worilds lately had he been rushing that much in those same situations? That's not to take anything from Worilds. He earned a spot. Bring Woodley back in on the right, switch them back and forth and spot them both with Jarvis Jones once in a while. It's a good problem to have.

My big concern isn't that side of the ball anyway. It will be interesting to see how the offensive line looks. And by interesting I mean potentially cringe-worthy.

totaji said...

For those thinking that this fine means that the League believes he did it on purpose is silly. Like a speeding ticket, it doesn't matter if you meant to speed or not. You sped, you aren't a hot blonde, so you get a ticket. Intent has nothing to do with it.

It was high, as well as it should have been, because it affected the game or at least could have.

Anonymous said...

So the league will dock the Steelers a draft choice if the play affects the playoffs? Since Balt won, the only possible way would be if the tie-breaker came down to total points differential. I guess the league will assume Balt would have scored a TD even though it was pretty certain Allen would have caught Jones before the endzone. We'll need a computer generated forensic animation to know for sure. The league will also have to assume Balt would have scored a TD despite them being stopped 4 other times and coming away with only FGs and the history of their offense failing to score TDs in the redzone.

What a joke the NFL administration is.

JJ said...

Whether intentional or not, MT looked like an idiot and that is undeniable. But, I guess the standard is the standard......

bruinmann77 said...

I have no issue with a fine nd if they added a suspension it would be ok with me. all if they took him off the competion comm it will be all ok. But to lose draft pick or losing a comp pick it totally outragous . It a shame about the Beard and think he going to end his career injured.Woodley has been injured alot during his career and for the $ he getting the Steelers need to look at this in the offseason.

Anonymous said...

You are the idiot

other_patrick said...

Stepping back a bit, who cares if it was intentional?

Let's say Ike Taylor is getting beat deep and he commits pass interference but the refs don't call it. It was an intentional infraction and it affects the outcome of the game. No one would think twice about fining him. The onus in this case is on the refs - exactly as it should be for Tomlin's two-step.

I realize it's a different rule being broken but it's not really that different.

As far as I know the draft pick penalties are generally reserved for organizational misconduct off the field of play.

adamg said...

Frankly, if this issue was so important to the league, then the league should have mandated the refs met with both coaches BEFORE the game started and emphasized that starting right now HQ is going to have zero tolerance for coaches and players standing in the white sideline border.

marc said...

@other Patrick - what the heck are you talking about? the onus is on the refs for a coach who interferes with a play on the field? you somehow think that relates to a player intentionally fouling another player?

@agamg - i don't disagree that if something is extremely important they make it abundantly clear. however, i am also betting on 2 things: 1. they expect coaches to read league communications and 2. they never expected a coach to actually interfere with a play on the field. those are two pretty reasonable assumptions.

i have to say, living here in ohio (not far outside Cleveland) there are actually a lot of steeler fans that i know. the overwhelming majority think along the same lines i do on this subject. that also goes for the people i know that live back in Pittsburgh. so what's the deal? are you guys that are blowing this off the minority or am i just stuck in my own little world?

Anonymous said...

Tomlin has horrendous clock management that hampers the Steelers competitive advantage every week. What's the league fine for that?

kyle said...

That's an appeal to authority fallacy, marc. There is no way to prove one way or the other what his intentions were. And really, his intentions don't matter as far as the punishment is concerned. Whether he meant to do it or not he was too close to the play. A personal fine or suspension would be in order. I think the league has proven how poorly it communicates by mentioning the draft pick thing when it's been reported in the Post-Gazette and elsewhere that if anything happens it would most likely be moving a pick if the game ends up affecting the playoffs. It's still dumb though.

James said...

@ marc - you are right this is a dead issue. the only people caring are anti-Tomlin fans.

I feel as if I appreciate what Tomlin did/didn't do. He is doing everything he possibly can so that his team can have an advantage.

Go beat Miami and this all goes away, and if it doesn't who cares about 1-2 picks in a draft where every team (even the Steelers) "miss" on at least 3 picks.

Now for serious Steeler questions:
What about the injuries on the O-line? & Bell?

other_patrick said...


The rules for sideline infraction and interference exist in the rulebook in plain english. There's no need to re-invent the wheel. Just apply the rule same as you would the PI call.

I said the onus is on the refs for missing the obvious call during the game and not awarding appropriate punishment on the spot. In my previous post I mean this in the context of the PI penalty as a point in reference. No one would be upset at Taylor for doing it,they'd be pissed at the refs for the non-call. Not sure why that's not the case here.

Since the refs did not act, the league is now somehow honor-bound to right the scales of Justice of this dastardly line-standing incident.