The timing of Mike Tomlin’s inadvertent waltz into the field of play on Thursday night becomes even more curious in light of this nugget from Jay Glazer of FOX Sports.
One day earlier, the league sent a video to all head coaches warning them to stay out of the white sideline stripe during plays. The message was sparked by a flag thrown last Sunday on Jets defensive line coach Karl Dunbar, who was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct after colliding with an official in the white stripe.
It’s unclear whether Tomlin actually saw the video, given that he was preparing for a Thursday night game in Baltimore. Regardless, Tomlin and the Steelers face, at a minimum, a stiff fine.
One of the issues that could drive the discipline is whether Tomlin’s move was inadvertent or intentional. Adam Schefter of ESPN has reported that there’s a “healthy dose of skepticism” within the Ravens and the league office about Tomlin’s explanation. As we hear it, however, the Ravens don’t believe it was intentional.
And the Steelers don’t believe that anyone would believe it was anything other than an accident. As one team source recently opined, anyone who believes it was intentional should stop coaching, playing, or watching football.
While it’s not unreasonable to at least suggest that Tomlin knew what he was doing, it ultimately won’t matter. Coaches are held to a much higher standard than anyone else, and for that reason Tomlin and the Steelers will surely be whacked by the league office.
Glazer reports that the stripping of a draft pick isn’t under consideration. Still, it seems to be a given at this point that the Steelers and/or Tomlin will be fined — possibly $100,000 or more.