The Mike Tomlin Two-Step proved to be one very expensive dance move, for the Pittsburgh Steelers’ coach and perhaps the franchise as a whole.
As all who have not been living under rocks are well aware by now, Tomlin put himself in a place where he didn’t belong in last Thursday night’s game against the Baltimore Ravens, stepping onto the field during a kickoff return and interfering with Ravens return man Jacoby Jones, who was tackled from behind on the play.
The NFL reviewed Tomlin’s actions and came down Wednesday with a $100,000 fine for the coach and an indication that once next year’s draft order is set, the Steelers might find themselves losing one or more picks because of his stupidity.
Public opinion is split on whether Tomlin wandered onto the playing field accidentally while gazing up to watch the kick return on the Jumbotron – the coach called it an “embarrassing blunder” – or if he deliberately edged onto the field to force Jones to alter course and allow a pursuing Steelers player to catch him. Video of Tomlin’s escapade has been dissected as if it were the Zapruder film, and one view captured by KDKA-TV provided fodder for those who think Tomlin’s sideline do-si-do was no accident.
Whatever the case, the Rooney family can’t be pleased their coach is now the butt of jokes and that he and they are the subjects of league-office scrutiny and punishment.
If at some point the Rooneys are thinking about cutting Tomlin loose – and it happens to most coaches eventually – the sideline snafu won’t likely be at the center of their discussions. But you can bet as long as Tomlin is running the show, every time an opposing kick returner heads up the Steelers’ side of the field, people everywhere will be yelling, “Where’s Tomlin?”