The first rule of getting the benefit of an officiating error is not to talk about getting the benefit of an officiating error.
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin violated that unwritten provision on Tuesday, openly acknowledging the fact that his team received the benefit of a nine-yard first down in the second quarter of Sunday’s loss to the Jets.
On a play that started at the Jets’ 35, running back Rashard Mendenhall appeared to make it to the 26. The ball was spotted at the 25, and the Steelers received a first down. They would cap the drive with a touchdown.
“They spotted it as a first down and, in that situation, it worked in our favor so we moved on,” Tomlin said. “I did think he was a yard short.”
The same thing happened a week earlier, when it at first appeared that the Redskins received a fifth down to pull with a point of the Buccaneers. As it turned out, what should have been second and one actually was first and goal from the six.
Bottom line? In a game of inches, the guy with the ruler has plenty of power.