A day before Steelers coach Mike Tomlin did the sideline shuffle during Ravens receiver Jacoby Jones' long kick return on Thursday, the NFL sent a video to all teams warning them about sideline interference, according to Fox Sports' Jay Glazer.
The Jets already had been flagged for sideline interference in Week 12, which likely prompted the league on Wednesday to remind teams not to be too close to the playing field.
And that might be why the NFL is, according to CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora, considering a hefty fine for Tomlin and the possibility of docking a draft pick from the team.
"This was a game on national television, with massive playoff implications, and the review is expected to be completed on Monday," La Canfora writes. "There has been no communication with Tomlin on the matter and none is expected ... Had the Steelers won the game -- it nearly went to overtime coming down to a two-point conversion -- the NFL fully realizes what a massive story it could have become and it wants to send a chilling signal to any other sidelines about attempting anything like this in the future. However, no suspensions are expected as, historically, the NFL generally only imposes them on coaches and front office personnel if there has been a repeated behavior that runs counter to the rules (i.e. Bountygate with the Saints and Spygate with the Patriots)."
Here was how Tomlin explained it following the Ravens 22-20 win.
“I always watch the returns on the JumboTron; it provides a better perspective for me,” Tomlin said. “I lost my placement as he broke free and saw at the last second how close I was to the field of play. ... I do it quite often, like everybody else in the National Football League. I was wrong, I accept responsibility.”
That loss of placement might end up costing Tomlin dearly.
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