The Pittsburgh Steelers have been among the most highly-penalized teams in the league through the first third of the season so far. Head Coach Mike Tomlin is not happy about it at all. But it hasn’t all been directed at his own players and coaches. He made it pretty clear that the officiating, and the rules, share some blame.
Following Sunday’s 41-17 victory over the Atlanta Falcons, Tomlin was pretty open about his frustrations with the officiating in the game, which included a roughing the passer penalty against T.J. Watt that he likely was referring to when he said that some of the calls made were “a joke” and that left him “pissed off”.
On Monday, it was reported that the league had made contact with Tomlin about the comments that he made after the game regarding the officiating, but it was also provided with the caveat that post-game comments are often judged more leniently, factoring potential emotions into whether or not a comment is worthy of being fined.
The Steelers’ Head Coach, who is a member of the Competition Committee that is responsible for setting up points of emphasis for each season—such as the roughing the passer infractions for 2018—was asked about the report and if he expected to be fined.
“I do not”, he said abruptly. As the questions continued, weighing in on his position on said committee, he ultimately added, “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”.
It is not uncommon for coaches to be fined for their post-game remarks if they are highly critical of the officiating, especially if it relates to one specific play, though Tomlin did not make any comments that referenced any particular incident, which could end up being his saving grace.
As I said yesterday, however, I really don’t care if he gets fined or not, because it’s not my money or the Steelers’ money and it has no effect on the season whatsoever. The league may blow it off because of his standing and because, frankly, they know he’s right.
After all, they have themselves tried to get out in front of the officiating issue. The commissioner himself called for a conference call for the committee following the third week of the season, after which we have seen a reduction in the overall number of roughing penalties for the body weight point of emphasis.