The Pittsburgh Steelers may have lost two games in a row, but at least their losses have generated conversations about rules, and that’s always exciting. Right?
Last week, after falling to the Denver Broncos 24-17, the conversation about the fumble in the end zone rule was brought up again. If an offensive team fumbles before crossing the goal line and the ball leaves the field through the end zone, the result is a loss of possession and a touchback for the opposing team.
That is what happened to Xavier Grimble early in the game, just a split second and inches making the difference between a touchdown and a turnover. Later during the week, Head Coach Mike Tomlin said that he agrees with the rule.
After this past game, on which the Los Angeles Chargers scored two touchdowns, including one on special teams, that directly benefitted from uncalled penalties for a false start and an illegal block in the back, Tomlin was asked about his thoughts on potentially expanding replay by Ed Bouchette.
“It depends on when you ask me”, he said. “Largely no, because I understand that we are a sport in the entertainment business, and I understand time is an element of this, and the expansion of replay is not an entertaining element of viewing a football game, and so there’s always that component of it”.
This is an argument that gets brought up a lot, but it’s one that I always disagree with, frankly. I will always value, within reason, getting the right call over preserving the pace of the game. All you have to do is look at the comments section of any highlight of a touchdown that came off a penalty that should have been called, as the Eagles had Monday night. Most of the responses to the play were pointing out the false start and how bad the officiating was.
“We can get into a bunch of hypotheticals and I’m gonna choose to not join you in that regard”, Tomlin responded to Bouchette as he tried to ask the coach about possible alternatives to the replay and challenging system. He also would not say that the team has been in contact with the league about the officiating in the game.
“I know oftentimes you do in an effort to seek comfort, but we’re not seeking comfort. We’re gonna dwell in this misery that we’re in and get ready for our next opportunity. If we have any communication with those guys in regard to what happened in that stadium, it will remain between us and them”, he said.
He also wasn’t interested in campaigning for any officials’ firing or passing judgement. He said it’s “not my bag”, and added, “I’m sure they’re addressing it in some form or fashion” at the league office.