As we await word from the Leon County State Attorney’s Office on whether FSU all-everything Heisman candidate Jameis Winston will incur a felony rape charge, we consider a somewhat lesser crime committed by Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin.
The usual fierce battle between the Baltimore Ravens and the Pittsburgh Steelers took place on Thanksgiving night in Baltimore, and it was hotly contested down to the closing gun. (And yeah, I know the timekeepers stopped using guns sometime during the Carter Administration, when gun control nuts were content to control only starter pistols).
Tomlin’s alleged crime was accidentally on purpose stepping onto the field as Jacoby Jones tiptoed down the sideline on the way to a 73-yard kickoff return to the Pittsburgh 27, which set up a field goal that made the score 16-7. His feet were planted in the white area immediately adjacent to the field with his back to the play. Just as the play approached, Tomlin appeared to take a side-step with his right foot out onto the field. His back was to the action; he claimed to have been watching the Jumbotron.
Here’s a video that Deadspin doctored to show what went on in slow-mo.
Whether the Tomlin shuffle slowed down Jones enough to prevent the touchdown is moot. It is clear that his foot was on the field, so “intent” is the only variable that needs to be smoked out.
Apparently, the NFL has decided that Tomlin acted with willful intent, as they fined him $100,000. Rumor had it that the league was considering docking the Steelers some draft picks, which would be devastating to the so-called rebuilding program.
Consistent with the crappy officiating in the league of late, a fifteen yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty should have been called on Tomlin, but wasn’t. That could have facilitated a touchdown by the Ravens instead of a field goal. However, that’s moot, too, because the blackbirds won anyway.
Speaking of blacks, the Yinzer Tomlin-haters are coming out in force now saying he should be fired for his dumb move. There are two types of people making those nasty comments. The first bunch are the Sanguinarians, who believe the Steelers always should win just because they like the guys on the team and they need someone to blame if they don’t perform. The other bunch are just ugly racists who never wanted Tomlin in the first place because he ain’t white. Screw them. Tomlin never will look like Chuck Noll or Bill Cowher, so get over it. He made some shaky calls in his first year or two, but he’s a decent head coach. Stop acting like racist assholes.
Losing draft picks would be bad. I hope the league reconsiders that. How many of you who played the game were tempted to jump out on the field to “help” your guys contain a play? It happens in the heat of combat.
It ain’t rape. It was a crime of passion.