Mike Tomlin – Sideline Shenanigans Interfering with Jacoby Jones

This topic has already been beat to death.  Hopefully the NFL’s levying of punishment today (significant $100,000 fine and possible loss of a draft choice)  will allow everyone to move on.  But I just wanted to share a few observations about how the incident looked to me.

– We can never know the intent of someone else.

– Tomlin’s initial positioning in the white restricted zone with his back turned to the play to watch the JumboTron was nothing  unusual – he had no way of anticipating that the play would develop to the point where his position would be a factor.

– Despite other coaches violating that white space, all would agree that his position was improper from the beginning.  The NFL had sent out a tape with warnings just that week to emphasize that they would be paying more attention to the enforcement of that restricted space.

– As Jacoby approaches, Tomlin seems to slide his feet together and jam up against the field.  This change in position seems unusual at best.  Also he never turns his head around to make eye contact with the approaching player.  He continues to view the play on the screen.  On the other hand, the play develops rapidly and we have been watching the slow motion video which can be deceiving.

– Nobody has been commenting about the position of the official that was running down the sideline tracking the play.  Tomlin had to be careful not to jump into that official.  Possibly that influenced his initial right step jab into the field – although he has never made that claim.  For the official to have to go around Tomlin so that Tomlin was for a moment between the official and the play on the field should have been enough to have drawn an immediate penalty.  Certainly that official did not have a good view of the right foot jab that Tomlin took initially or of how Jacoby might have been influenced by Tomlin’s position.

– There was no time for there to be any premeditated attempt at interference on Tomlin’s part.  What took place had to be impulsive and instinctive rather than thought out.  So the excuse that Tomlin would never make any attempt to interfere with a play on the field does not hold water with me because we are not talking about a cognitive process.  This does not speak to someone’s integrity, etc.

– It is possible that Tomlin in an instinctive, playful sense made some type of feint to mess with Jacoby – not realizing that the result was his right foot actually stepped onto the field of play.  When he realized what he had done he immediately tried to jump out of the way back towards the out of bounds.

– It would seem that Jacoby altered both his direction and his stride just slightly.  Whether he would have been tackled anyway is impossible to determine.

– The Ravens have taken the right approach to minimize the subject, give Tomlin the benefit of the doubt, and encourage everyone to move forward.  I will do the same.