Mike Tomlin might be right about the NFL being too penalty happy this season. But he’s wrong about one thing.
24 hours after telling reporters he didn’t expect to be fined for comments he made Sunday, the league has reportedly fined Tomlin $25,000 for being critical of officiating – and the league – after referring to some of the flags as a “joke” following Pittsburgh’s win over Atlanta.
That report comes via USA Today, who writes:
“The Pittsburgh Steelers coach has been fined $25,000 for criticizing officials, a person with knowledge of the situation told USA TODAY Sports. The person requested anonymity because the action had yet to be officially announced by the league.”
Here’s what Tomlin said Sunday.
“Some of the other stuff man, is a joke. We gotta get better as a National Football League. Man, these penalties are costing people games and jobs. We gotta get them correct. So I’m pissed about it, to be quite honest with you.”
The most egregious penalty was the “roughing the passer” call on T.J. Watt, called despite his attempt to get out of the way and the fact Matt Ryan was barely touched, able to step up into the pocket and avoid most contact.
But it’s certainly not the first time, in Pittsburgh or around the league, there’s been a very questionable roughing the passer call.
Yesterday, Tomlin said he wouldn’t offer any additional comments on the situation but said he didn’t believe he’d be fined for what he said.
“I do not”, he said when asked if he believed a punishment was coming. ““I’ll say this. I said what I said after the game; I meant it. But I have no further comment. I’m choosing to move on and focus on this week’s challenge”.
But it’s hardly a surprise to see Tomlin slapped with the fine. The league is very protective of its rules and officials, just like they are quarterbacks, and that sort of biting criticism isn’t going to be appreciated by the league’s front office. That doesn’t mean Tomlin wrong, 99% of football fans would agree, but that’s the business and PR side of the league kicking in.
It also disputes the idea that because of Tomlin’s status, as floated out by PFT during the week, the league would give him a pass on the comments he made.
Tomlin is part of the competition committee and hopefully can persuade the league to much some much needed changes in their rules. Maybe that’s wishful thinking on my part.