John Steigerwald

Column John Steigerwald

John Steigerwald has been a fixture of TV, radio, and newspaper sports in Pittsburgh, and has a Sunday column in the Observer-Reporter.

NFL’s fine of Tomlin doesn’t send effective message

NFL’s fine of Tomlin for stepping on field a slap on the wrist

December 7, 2013

Mike Tomlin got off lightly.

The NFL fined him $100,000 for stepping onto the field during a kickoff return by Jacoby Jones of the Baltimore Ravens Thanksgiving night. Tomlin makes $115,000 per week, and please don’t give me the “A hundred thousand dollars is a lot of money to lose no matter how much you’re making,” routine.

No, it’s not.

Not when you have about 150 more $115,000 paychecks guaranteed to be coming your way through 2016. This isn’t the same as the average worker being fined $800. If you make $800 a week, then you aren’t piling paycheck on top of paychecks the way a guy making $115,000 a week does.

So, let’s face it, Tomlin has already forgotten about the $100,000. And don’t be feeling too sorry for him if the fine was taken out of this week’s pay. He still grossed $15,000 for the week.

Tiny Tim he ain’t.

You know what would have really hurt Tomlin? Being forced to miss practice this week and watch the Steelers play the Dolphins on television. He should have been suspended for a game and fined the $100,000. Though Tomlin won’t miss the money much, it does go into the fund for down-on-their-luck former NFL players.

A head coach stepping in the way of a ball carrier during an NFL game is a major problem, accidental or not. I think it was intentional – a split-second brain cramp.

If intent were possible to prove, it would be worthy of a multi-game suspension, but it’s not, so the only fair way to send an effective message is to make him miss a game.

Tomlin is a competitor. My guess is, that would have hurt him more than the hundred grand. It also would have done a better job of getting the attention of the other coaches around the league who are making $100,000 a week.

• The Pitt football team is waiting to find out if, when and where it will be playing a bowl game. As of this writing, the smart money is on the Little Caesar’s Pizza Bowl in Detroit Dec. 26. If I were to pick the last two places I would want to be for Christmas, they would be Detroit and Tehran, and not necessarily in that order.

How is it that coaches, athletic directors, college presidents and, worst of all, the media have reached the point where they don’t fall on the floor laughing when somebody suggests a trip to Detroit over Christmas to play Ball State?

Ball State? Yep, that’s the likely opponent.

Nothing against Ball State, but it’s one of those opponents that puts Pitt in a no-win situation. If Pitt wins, it will get no credit. A loss will mean ending the season with a total embarrassment and a 6-7 record.

I know the coaches love the extra practice time that comes with a bowl game, and I was told that it would be good for Pitt head coach Paul Chryst because he’s going to be moving a couple of guys from guard to tackle.

And this is worth forcing so many people to be away from their families on Christmas?

It’s mind-boggling to think that someone connected with any institution of higher learning could, with a straight face, say how happy they are for the opportunity to spend Christmas in Detroit.

• The Seattle Mariners have guaranteed former New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano $240 million over the next 10 years. He’s 31. Andrew McCutchen of the Pirates will be 31 when his current contract expires in 2018. If he continues to put up MVP numbers, then he’s going to start the negotiations at $250 million. Enjoy him while you can, Pittsburgh.

• The Steelers have one more win than the Jacksonville Jaguars.

• It appears that Baltimore Ravens coach Jim Harbaugh has seen the light and is ready to join my crusade. He told a Minneapolis newspaper this week that he thinks the NFL is going to have to narrow the goal posts because field goals have become too easy. Welcome aboard, coach.

• I would not trade Russell Wilson for Andrew Luck. ilson is only in his second year in the NFL, but his career passer rating is 103.2. Aaron Rodgers is at 105.2 and Peyton Manning 96.8.

• The Yankees’ payroll is $138 million. For 10 players.

• Canadian citizens should consider a major revolution if Chris Kunitz and James Neal are not on Sidney Crosby’s line in the Sochi Olympics.

• I really expected Tomlin to open his Tuesday news conference with a short statement that included an apology and a refusal to discuss Sidelinegate. So, give him credit for taking any and all questions. And, if he was acting on advice/orders from the Rooney family or the commissioner’s office, then he was wise to follow their advice.

• The New York Mets signed former Yankees center fielder Curtis Granderson to a four-year contract worth $60 million. He has hit .231 the last two years and his home run numbers were inflated by playing in Yankee Stadium, the second-easiest home run park for lefthanders in the major leagues. He’s also 33.

John Steigerwald writes a Sunday column for the Observer-Reporter.



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