After reviewing the video of the prime-time Thanksgiving Day game between the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers at M & T Stadium in Baltimore, the NFL announced on Dec. 4 that the organization would fine Steelers’ head coach Mike Tomlin $100,000 for “interfering with Baltimore Ravens kick returner Jacoby Jones” at the tail end of Jones’ 73-yard kickoff return.
In addition to the fine, USA Today reported that a future penalty for Tomlin’s interference might cost the Steelers an upcoming “modification or forfeiture of draft choices.”
The sanctions were imposed by NFL executive vice president of football operations Ray Anderson.
The potential impact on Pittsburgh's draft choices "will be considered after the final order of the 2014 draft has been determined," the league announced in a statement.
Although Tomlin went on record earlier this week as saying that he didn’t intentionally mean to interfere with Jacoby Jones heading for a TD and that he was surprised to even hear that anyone would think he did, the Steelers’ coach tendered a heartfelt apology today, via a statement released by the Steelers.
"… 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."
Yesterday, Tomlin referred to his faux pas as "embarrassing, inexcusable and illegal," and reiterated what he’d said earlier, that he simply “lost his place” while hanging out along the sideline.
There’s a 6-foot white strip that runs along the sidelines of all NFL fields that only the game officials should ever enter. Players, coaching staff, and media personnel covering the came are prohibited from that strip.
Not only was Tomlin well into that strip, he obviously stepped onto the field which forced Jones to veer his running course from along the edge of the sideline into the waiting arms of Steelers’ cornerback Cortez Allen who took Jones down at the 27-yard line.
The officials totally missed Tomlin’s actions, and could have / should have penalized Tomlin on the spot for interference or unsportsmanlike conduct.
But in an unlikely supporter, Ravens’ coach John Harbaugh tweeted that although he earlier joked about the incident, “he never felt Tomlin's actions were intentional.”
For more on Mike Tomlin's $100,000 fine, see the video accompanying this article.
Also see our original report: