The Pittsburgh Steelers had just cut the Baltimore Ravens' lead to 13-7 late in the third quarter, and Ravens receiver Jacoby Jones looked like he was going to take the ensuing kickoff to the house. However, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin was right on top of the field, which forced Jones to adjust his path.
Jones immediately called out Tomlin:
Fox Sports' Mike Pereira weighed in on the play:
If they would have called the foul on Tomlin, they would have assessed 15 yards from the end of the run. Would not have awarded TD.— Mike Pereira (@MikePereira) November 29, 2013
The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec tweeted about the different reactions in the stadium:
Mike Tomlin smiling as scoreboard shows replay of him being on field on Jacoby Jones' return. M&T Bank crowd not as amused.— Jeff Zrebiec (@jeffzrebiecsun) November 29, 2013
Jones returned the kickoff 73 yards, but it looked like it could have been a much bigger return had Tomlin not been so close to the field.
Baltimore wound up kicking a field on the drive to take a 16-7 lead.
After the Ravens 22-20 win, Tomlin admitted to making a mistake (via Pro Football Talk):
“I always watch the returns on the Jumbotron,” Tomlin told reporters. “It provides a better perspective for me. Obviously, I lost my placement as he broke free. I started at the last second and saw how close I was to the field of play.”
Tomlin realizes that, in this specific case, he made a mistake.
“I do it quite often like everyone else in the National Football League,” Tomlin said. “I was wrong. I accept responsibility for it.”
UPDATE: Wednesday, Dec. 4 at 11:30 a.m. ET:
Tomlin has been fined $100,000 for the sideline incident, and the league will explore modification or forfeiture of 2014 draft choices at a later date once the draft order is determined.
--End of Update--