Not sure if you've heard (ha ha, see what I did there? That's irony, because of course no one is willing to shut their face about this), but Mike Tomlin sure was standing close to the football field on Thanksgiving. Too close, even! In fact, he was so close to the field of play that one of the Ravens' players even noticed him. This kind of act is clearly a premeditated effort to break the rules to ensure the Ravens would lose this pivotal game. What better time for this nefarious bit of game-chaning interference than on a kickoff return in the third quarter of a nationally televised game? Cunning, Mr. Tomlin, but not cunning enough.
Aided by Mike Tomlin's questionable ethics, the Steelers went on to… well, lose the game anyway. But never mind that! We have a narrative to push! The NFL has announced that Tomlin will be fined $100,000 for standing around watching the jumotron, and according to Pro Football Talk, this incident could affect the Steelers' draft picks.
Now, I'm honestly of the belief that Tomlin hasn'e been trying to cheat, because what have you ever seen or heard from Mike Tomlin that suggests he would deliberately get in the way of a play? I really think there was no punishment necessary beyond a stern "don't do that again." As it stands, it's only a fine, though 100 grand is nothing to sneeze at. To bring the draft into this is ludicrous, given the precedent set by former Jets special teams coach Sal Alosi a few years ago (he actually proveably interfered with a punt return and instructed his players to do the same).
Of course, as Ryan Clark notes, Glorious Exhalted Leader Roger Goodell hasn't always made sense of discipline.
For example, Tomlin's fine is more than double anything Brandon Meriweather has ever been charged, and he has repeatedly tried to kill other players.
The league has left the possibility dangling that they would strip a draft pick after the draft order is set, apparently, because I guess where the pick is would determine whether or not the team should lose one? That's like allowing a player to headbutt someone in the face as long as there isn't a severe concussion as a result.
The real kicker, and the one that should make you consider never reading PFT again, is this little nugget:
There’s no word from the league about the severity of the draft penalties. It’s also not clear whether the Steelers would merely be stripped of a pick, or whether the league would give a Pittsburgh pick to Baltimore as compensation for a rules violation that affected the Ravens.
Are you serious? Taking a pick from the Steelers and giving it to the Ravens? I don't know who this writer is, but I'd almost bet money he owns a Ravens #52 jersey with the name "INNOCENT" printed on the back.
I'd like to believe that the dangling threat on draft picks is more of a deterrent to other teams than it is to the Steelers, but then again, our Great Fuhrer doesn't seem particularly fond of the Steelers in general and maybe he is waiting to see if the Steelers get a top-10 pick so he can give it to Baltimore, and also one of the Lombardi Trophies, and maybe Le'Veon Bell, too. That would make as much sense as anything else.
Now can we play another football game so we can stop droning on about this stupid kickoff return that never mattered anyway?