Mike Tomlin

Just when things were looking good for the Pittsburgh Steelers, their head coach had to ruin it all. Mike Tomlin stepped on the field, intentionally or not, while Jacoby Jones was returning a kickoff. The result? A $100,000 fine to the head coach, while the NFL is leaving it open whether or not the team will lose a draft pick or maybe more, making his interference one of the most costly ever made.

The fine is one of four six-digit penalties handed out to NFL head coaches in the last nine years. Bill Belichick was fined $500,000 for Spygate, while Mike Tice and Wade Wilson also got the $100K fine for scalping Super Bowl tickets (Tice) and the use of banned substances (Wilson).

So what’s next? Tomlin issued an apology, trying to step away from the matter, saying he has to focus on other things, like preparing for the next game, as the Steelers try to keep their playoff hopes alive.

It’s an inexcusable blunder on my part. I understand with my position comes the charge of preserving and protecting the integrity of the game of football, and I think probably my biggest error on Thursday night is not realizing that play jeopardized the integrity of the game from a perception standpoint. I take full responsibility for my actions, and I apologize for causing negative attention to the Pittsburgh Steelers organization. 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.

For John Harbaugh, the head coach of the Baltimore Ravens, the apology seems to be enough, stating that he doesn’t think Tomlin did anything malicious on purpose. Deep down inside, it wouldn’t be surprising to know he wishes the league does take a draft pick or more from the Steelers, even though it makes no sense, unless they decide he did it deliberately.

We certainly respect the Steelers and Mike Tomlin completely. We never really thought for one second that there was intentionality there personally. I think everybody should be held to a higher standard. We’re in the National Football League. No matter what the issue, I know every coach in this league believes that certainly. So, I’ll leave it at that.

As you expected, those willing to speak on Tomlin’s behalf among Steelers players don’t think these should be anymore punishment. A chance to hear Ryan Clark was another example of just how many of the players don’t like Roger Goodell.

It’s not supposed to be fair. But Roger Goodell, when exactly has he been fair? He accepted responsibility for it. He understands the wrong that he did and you like a man that accepts things and is accountable for his actions. I think for him it was to not run from it, to not seem like he was being standoffish about the situation, accept it as a head coach and as a man. I think that’s the reason he answered so many questions.