So Mike Tomlin gets a $100,000 fine.


One hundred large is like a pimple on Casey Hampton’s butt when compared to Tomlin’s annual salary of $5.75M. But Tomlin’s salary isn’t the real issue. The real issue is, does the punishment fit the crime?

Now we’ve learned that the NFL has not considered intent in determining Tomlin’s punishment.

“Intent is not a factor in discipline because it cannot be determined,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told Pro Football Talk via email. “An individual is fined for an action that is a violation.”

Doesn’t intent count in determining the egregiousness of the violation?

Doesn’t premeditation count for something in criminal court?

Now if you listen to coaches both past and present around the league, none think that Tomlin intentionally disrupted the game. Forget what Tomlin has been yapping about regarding the integrity of the game and the embarrassing blunder and how the behavior was inexcusable. Blah, blah, blah…

It WAS inexcusable and regardless of what his coaching fraternity thinks it was also intentional.

You’ve seen the video. We’ve all seen how he has his back to the play.

Why? Why is his back to the play?

I know one thing, folks will be watching from this point forward to see if Tomlin’s back is to the play during kick returns and you can bet the farm that someone will unearth video to see if he’s done it in the past.

“I always watch the returns on the Jumbotron,” Tomlin told reporters. “It provides a better perspective for me.”

C’mon man…there’s a JumboTron at the other end too. Wouldn’t it make more sense to watch in the direction of the play AND the JumboTron? Wouldn’t that give the “better perspective” that you say you sought coach?

Ok, so he’s looking at the JumboTron and gaining that better perspective and what does he see…Jacoby Jones breaking free along the sideline upon which he happens to be illegally standing.

Keep in mind that Tomlin is on the league’s Competition Committee and he helps ESTABLISH the rules.

So here come Jones, speeding along as Tomlin watches on 2400 square feet of High Def. And what does he do? How about the Cha Cha Slide to the right. And then with his foot IN PLAY, he looks over his right shoulder while awaiting Jones’ arrival.

And just as Jacoby shows up, Tomlin buckles his knee further towards the field and then hops back.

Mission accomplished…he disrupted the play just enough to slightly break Jones’ stride and force him to change direction towards the pursuit.

If you are startled, do you move TOWARDS the thing that startles you?

If Tomlin was surprised by Jones’ sudden arrival, why is he looking over his shoulder?

He did it! He did it! He did it!

Look Tomlin IS a good coach and deservedly commands respect. He comes off as a professional and as a likable no-nonsense guy. As someone who despises just about anything and anyone connected to the Steelers with just a few exceptions, Tomlin being one of them, it wouldn’t bother me that if through some strange twist of fate someday, Tomlin becomes the skipper on the Ravens sideline.

I like the guy. He’s a good guy.

But you know what – GOOD GUYS MAKE MISTAKES TOO!

In the heat of the moment, sometimes things don’t go as you might like. Tomlin is an EXTREMELY competitive guy – he has to be. It’s an occupational hazard.

So here he is in a near must win situation on the road on Thanksgiving Night as the nation watches. If Jones goes the distance the season is pretty much done. The will to win gets the best of him and in a few fleeting seconds he has a momentary lapse of reasoning – so he cheats.

Ravens stadium operations busted him, showed it on the JumboTron (how was that perspective coach?) and he was so “embarrassed” he smiled a wry smile – a Cheshire cat grin that suggested he got away with one. He did then (no penalty was called) and he is now.

“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.”

Mike Tomlin, you are lying!

You acted as a desperate man, suffered a brain fart, committed a heinous violation of league rules – rules that you help to foster mind you, and now you’ve gotten away with it. One hundred thousand dollars is hardly a fitting penalty. Heck the Rooney family may slide it back to him in the form of a Christmas bonus.

But really, is that all the game’s integrity is worth?

Tomlin should count his lucky stars that the Ravens won. Otherwise his career would be forever linked to Jacoby Jones in the same embarrassing way that Roberto Alomar’s is hitched to that of spitting target, umpire John Hirschbeck.

And it still may be, because Tomlin lied.

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About Tony Lombardi

Tony Lombardi
Tony is 24x7 Networks, LLC's founder (the parent of and His work has been featured on various sports websites and he is a regular guest on 105.7 The Fan. A diehard Fab Four fan, Tony is a frustrated musician who thinks beating on the steering wheel is akin...more

24 Raves on “LIAR, LIAR!

    • Tom Moore on said:

      I agree. I think the fine was the right amount, but I do think docking the Steelers a draft position is also warranted. To his credit, Tomlin owned up to making the mistake and didn’t contest the fine.

  1. LadyRaven12 on said:

    More problems with the play: the ref that didn’t call it and the fact that no other players or coaches are anywhere near Tomlin.

  2. bogeyroy on said:


    How much input do you believe the Rooney’s and their lawyers had regarding Tomlin’s interview on the NFL Network ? I dunno, but from what I did for a living for 33 1/2 years before retiring, he sure looked “coached” for that interview.

    • Tony LombardiTony Lombardi on said:

      I agree. I noticed he looked down, probably at notes, a couple of times. I don’t think I’ve seen him do that before whenever his interviews have been shown on TV.

  3. RavenRob on said:

    “Look Tomlin IS a good coach and deservedly commands respect. He comes off as a professional and as a likable no-nonsense guy.”
    1) Good coach = Okay.
    2) Commands respect = Not anymore. Respect is earned. The guy has no integrity at all after this.
    3) Comes off as professional = DID come off as professional. Now, he’s bush league.
    4) No-nonsense? Sure. Likable? Not in Steelers colors, and certainly not after this incident. He’s a disingenuous scumbag.

  4. TY on said:

    Also, look at the faces of the players and other people behind the white line when Tomlin did his little shuffle…not one person looks shocked, instead they look amused!

  5. JerryB on said:

    Just more evidence of hypocrisy, Tony! Tomlin is on the “Competition Committee” and deserves to be held to the HIGHEST standard when it comes to rules infractions! As to INTENT, it doesn’t take a mind reader to determine his intent because his BEHAVIOR IS REALITY! The tapes CLEARLY show him standing in the “paint” with his back to the runner, moving his left foot closer to his right foot and then deliberately tuning towards Jones and timing his step into the runner’s path to affect his return! If the NFL chooses to IGNORE the evidence, it just demonstrates their hypocrisy and their……….IGNORANCE! The league’s treatment of this egregious “cheating”, also is reminiscent of a quote from Orwell’s, “Animal Farm”…..”All pigs are created equal; some pigs are more equal than others”!

  6. RJ on said:

    Excellent article that is 100% fair and accurate. Tomlin has now become a national joke (much to the delight of Ravens fans) and the fact that his stunt was all in vain given that we won the game makes the whole thing simply laughable as opposed to the near-season-ending tragedy it would have been if we lost. While I hate the Stealers as a rival, I have alwys had respect for their organization and coaches (and even a handful of players) until this incident, but it mainly goes towards escalating an already epic rivalry to higher levels.

  7. bill on said:

    Finally someone has put into words what is totally evident. He simply lost control of himself. I do not understand why he could not have been ejected from the game with the use of replay. In addition to the fine a few game suspensions are warrented. That said I like the Steelers and look forward to the game every year.

  8. Mike on said:

    I’m kind of on the fense for this one. On one hand it does seem intensional by Tomlin, on the other hand no real evidence exists that it was intentional, therefore the NFL wouldn’t bother trying to determine intent and just assumed that it was his fault for being where he was on the field. The real fault here, the continued sub-par reffing the NFL has had since they re-joined the workforce after their lockout. Had the refs done their job, a 15 yard penalty would have been placed onto the end of the run and Tomlin would have been fined probably somewhere in the mid 5 figures. I know $100000 seems like a drop in the bucket for someone making millions, but it’s still a lot of money. Belicheet was only fined 5 times that for cheating for years and he was able to keep his job too. I think the ruling was fair and it’s time to move on.

  9. Joshua on said:

    Had it been any other team except the Patsies, the fine would have been steeper, This has double standard written all over it. Fraudlin knew exactly what he was doing.

  10. VC on said:

    I am in disagreement with a Steelers fan who sticks by what Tomlin did was NOT intentional and he only smirked because it was broadcast in “live time” and that was his reaction to seeing himself on the jumbotron. Anyone else know for sure if it was broadcast “live time”? I didnt think it was because the Ravens fans would have been very loud about it sooner.

    • Tony LombardiTony Lombardi on said:

      The smirk was not shown live. NBC may not have even shown Tomlin’s gamesmanship if the Ravens video operator hadn’t done so 6 or 7 times during the commercial break following the Justin Tucker FG that put the Ravens up 16-7.

      • VC on said:

        Thank you……that’s what I thought and remember seeing while watching the game from home. Everyone KNOWS he did what he did on purpose and I have lost ALLL respect for that team of dirty players lead by a dirty coach! Emmanuel Sanders is also on my @hit list for his mockery of Ray Lewis; I heard about that later since the news coverage didnt highlight that either.

  11. Fcowher on said:

    It stinks. It was clear what he did, he deserves more punishment and because of the Rooney’s he gets fined and it will never be spoken of again. If nothing else, what was he doing on the big fat white stripe in the first place?

  12. purpleneons on said:

    Why does every single host on the Fan claim that this was not intentional?


    Furthermore, there all going to there graves believing it was not intentional and no amount of evidence is every going to change there minds…….jeez, lots of credibility lost over there fella’s. Kinda of bizarre that EVERY host mouths the same “he didn’t do it” argument that is thoroughly debunked by the evidence.

    Maybe just saying that to create a buzz.

    I DON’T like Tomlin, never have and never will. He definitely got away with one here and he’s fortunate that his team lost. A win would have created a huge firestorm that may have led to his firing. I personally think the guy is an arrogant punk and the poop eatin grin he had on his face told me all I need to know about the guy. He is classless, smug and not a guy I would ever trust.

    Also the Ravens played this beautifully. They knew immediately to low key it from there end and they let the white hot heat of his actions embarrass the heck out of the guy.

    $500,000 fine to the team for failing to control there coach and loss of 3 rounder in next years draft should insure this never happens again where a cheater decides its worth it to cheat.

  13. catgirl54 on said:

    It is meaningless to talk about “integrity” in this instance, because the stakes were too high. Tomlin might be a “good guy” (that’s what everyone says), but he has to swim in the same water as we all do. So… he has integrity as far as it goes, which means that he is not above trying to change the course of a crucial football game. The Steelers are not used to being this low on the totem pole. A stroll out onto the field during a kick return…he could have gotten away with it, he almost did, so why not try it? This is the reasoning of a desperate coach.

    They should have suspended him or at the very least taken away a draft pick. If Jacoby had tripped over that leg and hurt himself, Tomlin might have had to hire a body guard to keep the murderous Ravens’ fans away.

  14. JIMBO on said:

    Good article Tony, if you recall last years’ game at home some of the Steelers player were interfering with our players during the warm-ups of catching and kicking punts and Tomlin would not even talk to Harbaugh during that warm-up period. After the game was over he did not even shake John’s hand because he said he wanted to get to the locker room as fast as he could so he could congratulate his players as they came into their locker room. Some man of “integrity”.

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