Fan video tends to undercut Tomlin


Well, this is getting fun.  And confusing.

Fan video posted on YouTube of the Jacoby Jones kickoff return seems to show Steelers coach Mike Tomlin executing his “side step right” maneuver the instant after it became obvious that Jones had broken through Pittsburgh’s kick coverage.

The video, shot from the stands and displaying a clearly unclear Zapruder-Meets-Where’s-Waldo? quality, shows the entire field for the full play.  Based on the “all-22” coaches film, Tomlin is the figure walking in the white stripe toward the Pittsburgh side of the 50, at roughly the 13-second mark.  He then exits the stripe and walks around the official positioned at the Pittsburgh 45, a move that is far more clear in the “all-22” film.

By the 23-second mark, Tomlin is back in the stripe, at the Pittsburgh 40.

Once it appears Jones is going to break it (at 25 seconds), the camera wobbles as the crowd reacts.  At roughly the 26-second mark, Tomlin can been seen executing the side-step seen in the KDKA-TV end-zone angle.

In short (if that’s even possible), Tomlin steps toward the edge of the field after the initial crowd reaction, which happened as it became obvious to the crowd that Jones was going to have a chance at returning the kick for a touchdown.  Which supports the notion that Tomlin saw the return develop and/or heard the reaction, and then deliberately stepped to the edge of the field.

While the new video isn’t clear enough to be conclusive, it becomes more imperative for the NFL to review as many angles as it can to decide whether Tomlin made that quick step to the edge of the field after Jones broke through the coverage.  It’s entirely possible that the league will decide based on all available video that Tomlin’s movements reveal intent.

Intent doesn’t require hours or days of advance planing.  All sorts of intentional acts happen with only a flicker of premeditation.  Based on the currently available angles, a plausible case can be made that Tomlin made a knee-jerk, heat-of-the-moment decision to transform himself into an obstacle by taking a subtle yet distinct step toward the field.

With the game and in turn the Steelers’ playoff chances arguably riding on whether Jones scored a touchdown on that play, there’s a chance Tomlin yielded in a split-second to an overpowering temptation.

128 responses to “Fan video tends to undercut Tomlin

  1. I am surprised an NFL head coach would act like such an amateur. Maybe Tomlin needs to go back to being a position coach where this behavior can go unnoticed. You are the head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers, man. Act like it.

  2. The original NBC footage during the game was good enough to see it was on purpose.

    1) You can see Tomlin glancing back over his right shoulder directly at the approaching Jones. He SEES him coming and is waiting for him to get closer.

    2) Tomlin is standing with his back to Jones as if setting a pick in basketball while he keeps glancing back as Jones gets closer and closer.

    3) At the very last second and with SPLIT SECOND TIMING he sticks his right foot FURTHER out onto the field of play to either trip Jones or make him cut back inside to avoid being tripped. Jones cut back inside to avoid being tripped.

    Now am I really seeing something that wasn’t there and that nobody else saw? Maybe I am crazy but to me it was 100% — to use Tomlin’s favorite word — obvious.

  3. I don’t care what Tomlin says, it was done on purpose. You don’t just happen to hear the crowd erupting and seeing Jacoby Jones breaking through the kick coverage and decide you want to get closer to the field for the heck of it.

    He knew full well what was going on at that time and knew where he was on the field. With Pittsburgh needing to win that game to stay alive, all of the facts point to this being intentional.

  4. Whether it was intentional or not, he has to be punished. In order to keep anyone from “accidently” doing that again.

  5. Tomlin also knew that Jones would be fielding the kick on the Steelers side of the field and most likely coming up that sideline. Seeming less and less coincidental the more we see.

  6. That’s what I have been saying all along.

    It wasn’t the step right before Jones arrived that shows low character mike tomlin’s intent it was the step when he broke free.

  7. @mclovin07 says: Dec 3, 2013 3:18 PM

    Great seats, huh?!


    Bob Uecker
    Mike Tomlin was “Just a bit outside” his area.

    Great post mclovin

  8. Ever been looking at yourself in a mirror and gotten all turned around? Think you’re moving left, but you’re actually moving right? Plan to move your hand up, but you move it down? What if that’s what happened to Tomlin?

    I’m not saying that’s what happened, but “what if”…I can’t stand the Stillers, but I have a hard time thinking Tomlin is that stupid to have done it on purpose. Unless he’s that crazy…Crazy like a fox!

  9. .
    MichaelEdits says: Dec 3, 2013 3:29 PM

    “Mike Tomlin is the REAL Twelfth Man.”


    Awesome, funniest thing I’ve read in months!

  10. Who cares anymore? Just fine him and fire him and get him out of the NFL. This guy doesn’t have anything to offer that is worthy of another chance. They can find better coaches with better principles! That’s a win-win, 2 good things instead of none!!!!!!!!

  11. Stop giving Tomlin the benefit of the doubt. This isn’t a courtroom, it’s the court of public opinion, and the majority opinion is that Tomlin did this intentionally.

  12. I am waiting for the 1st article from the ulitmate Raven fan Mike Florio. Just look thorugh the Profootball archives and 95% of the articles MF writes refereincing the Steelers are anti Steelers. Try being objective just once!!!

  13. If you watch yet another grainy 8mm film, it becomes obvious Tomlin did not act alone. There is clearly a second coach emerging from the grassy knoll to get in Jones’ way.

  14. It’s amazing how he needed to be on the field to get a better view of the giant 24′ x 100′ HD scoreboard.

    I could see just fine from my corner endzone seats ~75 yards from the play.

  15. gallopinggilmore says: Dec 3, 2013 3:16 PM

    through the eyes of a baltimoron… He’s moving out of the ref’s way
    You can conclude that from this video? If he was moving out of the refs way, who was behind him running up the sideline, why didn’t he know Jones was also behind him running up the sideline and why on earth would he step TOWARD the field of play?

    All I can conclude from this video is some poor sap paid hundreds of dollars for this seat.

  16. I hope those fans were equipped with flashing red lights to prevent airplanes from hitting them.

  17. It would have been pretty funny if Jones had just plowed right into Tomlin and flattened him before going on to score a TD. That would have been the best reward of all for the entire rest of the league.

  18. This video was shot from the Grassy (Chuck) Noll. I can’t wait for the Warren (Sapp) Commission. Oliver Stone just sent for cameras. This is all revenge for Pete Rozelle playing the weekend after 11-22-63.

  19. Tomlin’s only hope and defense is that the NFL has done a poor job of enforcement of the ‘no-go’ zone, and haven’t fined everyone who stands there (to my knowledge, they’ve only fined one strength coach who organized players to stand there).

    However, the NFL has to levy a severe fine on him. It didn’t change the outcome of the game, and it was ‘only’ a regular season game, but there’s coaches making more than Tomlin that might eat the fine in a SuperBowl. They fine the team as well – I don’t think Tomlin planned to do his sideline shuffle, but that also doesn’t mean it was unintentional.

    Tomlin should have been flagged on the play since the ref had to run around him. The NFL needs to start enforcing the white stripe rules, otherwise they’re encouraging people to loiter there and it will cause another problem down the road. I still don’t understand how the NFL thinks it is appropriate to strictly enforce the uniform policy, and fine guys for letting their socks sag, but don’t see fit to strictly enforce rules that could actually affect a game.

  20. Hasn’t the coach built up enough credibility in the league to get a pass on whether he acted intentionally? The incident should not have happened, but isn’t a small fine a suitable punishment? Tomlin has no track record of bad behavior and all other coaches are now on notice. Case closed.

  21. These are actually club seats in Baltimore so you can (a) watch your car get broken into real time or (b) get high from the McCormick’s plant spewing spice clouds.

  22. onbucky96 says: Dec 3, 2013 3:27 PM

    The video evidence is further proof the world is out to screw the Steelers. Or that Tomlin is a cheat. Probably both.
    Your first sentence, you’re just whining.

    Your second sentence is spot on though.

  23. He was barley even on the field. He had one foot that was like 3 inches on the field. And he jumped out of the way before Jones passed him.

    If it were done on purpose, I think he would’ve given more effort than that. We would’ve probably never moved out of the way in the first place. Just saying.

  24. stigman2012 says:
    Dec 3, 2013 3:33 PM
    If you watch yet another grainy 8mm film, it becomes obvious Tomlin did not act alone. There is clearly a second coach emerging from the grassy knoll to get in Jones’ way.


    Oliver Stone will make a movie about this incident based upon the “second coach” theory.

  25. Serious question: Why was this fan filming a kick return from 2 miles away? It ended up being interesting because of Tomlin, but what were the odds ex ante?

  26. I enjoyed the nosebleed jokes, but this is actually a much better angle than you’d get in the “better” seats. You can clearly seem Tomlin return to the white stripe and then align himself to head off Jones. It makes the premeditation obvious a good 2-3 seconds before Jones even gets there.

  27. That’s crazy! He headed that before Jones was headed up the sideline. The game is over. The Ratbirds won now give it a rest.

  28. this just cannot happen. if this were the super bowl, or so on, no. he knew what he was doing, but even if he didn’t, you must show that this is not something you can do without serious consequence.

  29. There is a video shot from some planet in a different galaxy that shows the play with more clarity.

  30. A team founded by bootleggers, dog track owners and other seedy operations is not surprised that there head coach tried to cheat his way into playoff contentions. The whole team has and will always be a shady enterprise. See cocaine cowboys if you want to get the real secret behind the steel curtain and those great steeler teams That are SOOOO LAST CENTURY.

  31. He’s guilty, but this video does nothing except make the players look like ants and it makes me have to listen to a drunk fan scream

  32. If I were a spoecial teams coach, this is the point I tell any and all my return specialists that in a similar situation your primary concern should ONLY be to fly into said team staff/non-player at top speed with intent to harm, maim and injure. Step on his foot hard on a full head of steam. Forget a fine, make him pay with a pound of flesh and you may never see it happen again.

    (then fine him anyways)

    Any opinion aside, I have always held Tomlin in high regard for having a strong defensive mind, but this is unacceptable behavior on any level and by any standard. It could have changed the games outcome.

  33. Tomlin is obviously guilty. Fine him, suspend him and the Steelers should forfeit draft picks. If they complain fine their owner. This is the worse case of obvious game day attempted cheating by a HC I’ve ever seen in the NFL and I’ve been watching games for 50 years.

  34. Dude we all know it was on purpose and the media members defending this were oh so quick to ostracize Sal Alosi for what he did why is this any different? Ravens should have won by 2 possessions and Tomlin screwed with the game. Just punish him already and lets move on.

  35. Just listen to the Steelers’ fans:

    “This is not news.”

    “Blown out of proportion.”

    “Let’s change the subject!!”


  36. Anyone else wondering why the supposedly incriminating part of the tape was missing in the coaches “all 22” tape???

  37. Do you really think Tomlin is stupid enough to do something so silly in front of the thousands of fans in the stadium, league officials, the cameras and millions more watching on TV? Let it go – this is a non-story.

  38. Anyone who claims to see anything relevant from this far, far away video is delusional.

    Is there any chance Goodell will hand down his punishment before New Year’s so we can all move on???? If it had been Harrison instead of Tomlin, we’d be done already.

  39. This entire allegation to M. Tomlin doing this on purpose is ridiculous. As a Bengals fan, (and a Steeler hater…..lets make that clear… I know what a class individual Tomlin is and the idea that he would jeapordize his reputation and credibility by trying to trip or make J. Jones alter his run makes me laugh.

    Can’t we just accept accidents happen……..? $200,000 fines??? Maybe I just live in another world.

  40. psmith7716 says:
    Dec 3, 2013 3:59 PM
    Do you really think Tomlin is stupid enough to do something so silly in front of the thousands of fans in the stadium, league officials, the cameras and millions more watching on TV? Let it go – this is a non-story.


    Given all the video available of the incident, yes, he really is that stupid.

    Unless you really do buy his “Who do you believe – me or your own lying eyes?” routine.

  41. Bellichek is pretty competitive. He does not want Tomlin to become the most unethical coach in the NFL based upon a Woody Hayes-esque move againt Jacoby. Bellichek has worked too long and has done so much sleazy stuff to let Tomlin just shuffle away with the crown.

  42. psmith7716:


    But I wouldn’t have thought so if you predicted it before it happened. Now that it has though it’s a different story, but a story nonetheless. This was not only idiotic, but worse than that.

    He should have come clean and told everybody he knew what he was doing and had a breakdown in personal moral code and professional ethics. It’s hard to say, but it would have been the right thing for him to say. He declined that option. So now I think he is even more stupid than I did immediately after watching the play.

  43. It was beyond him doing unless it was on purpose. Tomlin isn’t that dumb. And what keeps getting me is he knows the repercussion , possible loss of draft picks and his job . What motivated him to still want to do this ?

  44. Why does his intent matter at this point when he himself says what he did was illegal and inexcusable?

  45. People are going to see what they want to see, but here is what I see. First and foremost, Tomlin is walking towards the farthest end of the field just prior to the kickoff. So he is going almost as far as possible away from the play. If Tomlins intent was to get in Jacobys way he would do it near all of the player sand not way out in the open. Secondly he is looking up at the scoreboard the whole time, just as he says he usually does during kickoffs. The smoking gun everyone points to, is his side step with his left foot towards his right foot. Why this is a smoking gun I have no idea, as all he’s doing is putting his feet together and when viewed the other video shown, it appears as though he’s getting out of the way of the ref approaching from behind and to his left. The people who believe he clairvoyantly knew Jones was going to run it all the way back to the 30, and therefore positioned himself in that exact spot Jones would be, to somehow cause Jacoby to flinch, or be startled have got to be reaching for straws. There is no way you know where a kick off will lead, sometimes it starts up the middle, then cuts back left etc. I’m all for fans who hate other teams and such, and coming on here to talk trash, I get that. But you’re embarrassing yourself, when you think that somehow Tomlin knew exactly where Jacoby jones was going to end up, and placed himself out in the open way far away from everyone to get in his way? I’m sure Goodell will Fine him, but anythgin more than that would be a joke. But we are talking Goodell so who can say.

  46. randomguy9999 says:
    Dec 3, 2013 3:21 PM
    as soon as Jones broke containment, Tomlin got a LOT closer to the field… no question


    this whole thing is outright cheating and the NFL should come down on it like a ton of bricks

  47. Wow! I’m sure the NFL will use this fan-shot video from the nosebleed section as the key piece of evidence to blow the lid off of this whole “conspiracy.”

    And when did the Patriots film crew show up in Baltimore?!

  48. On a completely different note, I would personally like to thank Mike Tomlin for giving us all a reprieve from the non-stop Redskins articles on PFFFT.

  49. steelcurtainn says:Dec 3, 2013 3:49 PM

    Sounds like a court hearing….Is the guy on trial here….Surely, there is something more exciting to talk about then the same topic all week
    Ya, I am sure you would say that if it was the head coach of any other team, huh Homer?

  50. “With the game and in turn the Steelers’ playoff chances arguably riding on whether Jones scored a touchdown on that play, there’s a chance Tomlin yielded in a split-second to an overpowering temptation.”

    Which means that he basically has no scruples, which I believe is a common trait found in those who feel entitled to something, or in other words, to a cheater.

  51. “”Ravens are on the way to the Meadowlands in February. Let the haters hate.””

    For what, to shovel snow for the Seahawks and Broncos in the super bowl?

  52. To suggest that this is a smoking gun is pathetic and desperate cry for attention. The jumbotron that Tomlin was looking at had a totally different view then that of the fan sitting in the upper level…and that’s just about the only thing you can make out in this video. Not only that, it was never clear that Jacoby Jones was gone….because he wasn’t, and he got caught and it had nothing to do with Tomlin. Pathetic.

  53. He had no business being that close to (and for a brief moment, partially on) the field of play. Bottomline. This can not be disputed. He influenced a live play with his ridiculous side stepping. It doesn’t matter if it was deliberate or not, he broke a rule and hopefully learns a valuable lesson.

  54. They should also be looking at footage of where he stood and was looking on the other kickoffs for comparative purposes.

  55. Lions fan here. Tomlin has always been a stand-up guy with a strong reputation for integrity. He deserves to be fined because he broke the rules, but I think he deserves the benefit of the doubt of whether or not it was intentional. Let him pay a fine and let’s move on.

  56. boomgrounder says:

    “Tomlin is obviously guilty. Fine him, suspend him and the Steelers should forfeit draft picks. If they complain fine their owner. This is the worse case of obvious game day attempted cheating by a HC I’ve ever seen in the NFL and I’ve been watching games for 50 years.”

    This post nails it. Absolutely correct, sir!

  57. I couldn’t really see anything in that video. It just reinforces why I prefer watching the games from the comfort of my sofa where I can see the action close up and not freeze my arse off at the same time.

  58. harrisonhits2 says:

    It would have been pretty funny if Jones had just plowed right into Tomlin and flattened him
    Doubt it. If Sweat Pea can take out Jones with ease, Tomlin would absolutely crush him.

    (how was that lf4l?)

  59. As if it weren’t already obvious, this video proves it was intentional. This video shows that the side step we can see clearly in the sideline video happened EXACTLY when he knew Jacoby would be coming.

  60. There you go crown.

    Sweet Pea, champagne bottles, Bryndan Trawick, and an ice cream truck all did a better job than Tomlin at stopping Jones.

    Obviously I’m a Ravens fan but we gotta lighten this up.

  61. Here’s what makes the most sense as far as the penalty goes
    $100k for Mike
    $100k for Steelers

    Mike is dismissed from Competition Committee

    Made an example in front of his peers this way stings longer and louder than money and sends the clearest of messages to other coaches who value their reputations as much as Tomlin is claiming he does in the press today

    You forfeited your right to be an insider; watch from the sidelines (sic)

  62. October 27, 1997
    As Hudson ran alongside the Steelers’ sideline to score on a blocked field goal that finished off the Jaguars’ 30-21 victory on Sept. 22, Cowher took a step onto the field and raised an arm before pulling back. Cowher said later he momentarily contemplated tackling Hudson, but thought better of it.

  63. Commissioner Goodell must bring down upon Mike Tomlin the full force of his powers and office. It’s my opinion that Mike Tomlim made a purposeful and deliberate sidestep to have a negative impact on the play. Tomlin’s actions maligns the integrity of the game. Additionally, Tomlin’s immediate reactions after the incident were shameful.
    Shame on Tomlin and shame on the Steeler’s for standing by his inappropriate behavior.

  64. i couldn’t come to this site for over a year without having to hear about how the saints “cheated” over verbal communications in their own locker room, and how they were justified for losing multiple draft picks.

    the footage is out there; the NFL can’t destroy the evidence this time. he entered the field of play and stopped a touchdown. if that isn’t cheating, i don’t know what is.

  65. The thing is…. If you realize you need to move left really fast to get out of the way, you naturally move your right foot out to plant and propell yourself left. No way he did that on purpose. Tomlin is a stand up dude, and I’m a Cowboys fann.

  66. He knew what he was doing, I really hope the NFL fines and suspends him for several games, takes draft picks whatever it takes to send a message. This type of behavior will NOT be tolerated. Trash coach, and a cheater.

  67. Someone please tell me why a head coach would have his backed turned to the kick off as the play is developing as if he was completely disinterested. That alone makes me suspicious.

    And his grin afterwards seems to cement his guilt.

  68. I think the NFL has enough of it’s own material to make a proper judgment.

    I couldn’t tell anything for certain from that video. I will say this, it seems as if the default non-telescopic setting on cell phone camera’s seem to make the images even farther away than they actually are. Has something to do with light and how lenses capture images. So the seats are closer than they appear.

    Perhaps a photographer or lens specialist can further elaborate.

  69. This isn’t even a big deal. There’s a reason the fan didn’t even notice. Tomlin in now way obstructed that play, despite the fact he will be fined.

    If Tomlin touched Jacoby, then you can talk. But he didn’t.

    If you want to talk about bad NFL calls talk about the Ahmad Brooks v. Drew Brees horrible sack call, or the non call on Gronk v. The panthers…

    Still not over it! Down with the officials! We want technology refs!!

  70. Joemontanaflacco says: Dec 3, 2013 3:58 PM

    Just listen to the Steelers’ fans:

    “This is not news.”

    “Blown out of proportion.”

    “Let’s change the subject!!”
    Which is oddly similar to some Patriot ‘issue’ from a few years ago.

  71. What this video illustrates most clearly is why fans choose to watch at home. The players are little more than dots on the field. You will eventually be able to figure out which dot has the ball, usually, but good luck figuring out which player that dot is.

    Why would anyone pay hundreds of dollars for that?

  72. I think a good punishment for the Steelers would be to make Todd Haley the head coach.

    That would be more devastating than a fine and loss of draft pick….

  73. The mere fact Tomlin never turns to watch the play with his own eyes was enough to prove to me he was guilty.

    You’re watching the Jumbo Tron and see the play is coming your way and you keep watching the screen rather than check it out with your own eyes? Nobody would do that, particularly not a coach.

  74. The Steelers lost both the game and players to injury. Tomlinson has no record of foul play. His comments have always been straightforward. He made a mistake that is easy to understand. He will pay the price when the NFL says so. No need to bash his reputation; he admits to the mistake. Meanwhile, the Steelers are hurtin.

  75. 2013 Steelers: 5-7*

    *caught cheating

    (Just a fun throw back to some of the ridiculous stuff from back in 2007. Absurd then, absurd now.)

  76. The video on dead spin (the endzone view) says it all!!! He is looking over his shoulder and as soon as the ravens player is about to go by he jumps in then out of the way. the ravens player makes a little adjustment to miss tomlin. You know that quick reaction when something unexpected happens. How can people not see that that move was deliberate. He did a quick leg plant in the field of play, before his acting like he was trying to get out of the way. His timing was perfect though!!!! I could care less about the Steelers, but I once had respect for Tomlin. That is now gone. I hope they have losing season after losing season. Win the game like a MAN!!!!!

  77. Oh yeah right… That video clears the whole thing up… All you need to see is the Chesire Cat smile after which tells it all…

    Fine, Suspension, Loss of draft pick… Throw the book at the bum!

  78. Tomlin has had a brain explosion or he is mister magoo he walks around a ref to only step back on the field by accident?! BS just change the rule so once a play is active no one from either team can step on the white line at all make it something like a 15-25 yard foul if you do.

    give tomlin a 500k fine and take a late round pick from the steelers then owners will coach their HC’s not to do a Tomlin

  79. doctorrustbelt says:
    Dec 3, 2013 3:34 PM
    I hope those fans were equipped with flashing red lights to prevent airplanes from hitting them.
    I’m not sure if this is just a good joke or symptomatic of the fact that nosebleeds haven’t been sold at Paul Brown since the 80s.

  80. psmith7716 says:
    Dec 3, 2013 3:59 PM
    Do you really think Tomlin is stupid enough to do something so silly in front of the thousands of fans in the stadium, league officials, the cameras and millions more watching on TV? Let it go – this is a non-story.

    9 41


    Well, he did, so, I guess he is that dumb. I understand from a logical point of view it is easier to believe he wouldn’t do something like that, but when it is caught on video you can’t just ignore what you are seeing.

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