Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said after Thursday night’s game against the Ravens that he “lost my placement” when ending up with one foot in the field of play — and also in the path of Ravens kick returner Jacoby Jones.
Perhaps the truth is that Tomlin precisely found his placement.
A new angle of the play, captured by KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh, shows Tomlin doing anything but wandering aimlessly as he stared at the M&T Bank Stadium’s Jumbotron. With his right leg planted on the edge of the field, Tomlin steps with his left leg not absent-mindedly but deliberately, like someone who is trying to stake out a specific piece of turf.
Or like someone who is executing a “side step right” while asking, “Why did the chicken cross the road?”
Deadspin has expanded the image and slowed it down.
While the video arguably undermines the idea that Tomlin meandered to the edge of the field while trying to take in the return on a giant video screen that could have been seen from any position in the sideline area, it’s doesn’t resolve the issue completely.
Other video could. The NFL has yet to post the coaches film from the three Thanksgiving games on its Game Rewind service. The end zone angle could shed more light on what Tomlin was doing just before he ended up standing where he was when Jones approached.
There could be other video, such as the raw, unedited coaching tape, that shows Tomlin’s full movements from the moment the ball was kicked to the instant he flinched toward Jones. Likewise, the league could ask for video shot by one of the many NBC cameras that were blanketing the playing area.
A complete and comprehensive look at Tomlin’s movements before and during the play could help the NFL decide whether to accept Tomlin’s explanation that he accidentally stepped out of rank, or whether he was merely trying to prevent Jones from completing his act of razzle dazzle.