What’s up with Pittsburgh? Growing up in the Southern Tier, we were closer to Pennsylvania than Rich Stadium, so it was natural that I started out a Steelers fan. I loved me some Lynn Swann, Jack Lambert, Rocky Bleier, et al. Even after switching allegiances to the Bills in the early 80’s, Pitt remained my #2 rooting interest. That support has waned in recent years, however, due to things like: multiple sexual assault accusations against Ben Roethlisberger; Maurkice Pouncey calling for accused killer Aaron Hernandez to be freed; and now the obvious (to my eye) obstruction of a player on the field by HC Mike Tomlin.
Focusing on the third issue, I’d like to know the Rumbler community’s take on what Tomlin did: standing on the edge the playing field with his back turned toward the kick returner, Jacoby Jones, then stepping out of the way at the last moment, acting like he was oblivious to his obstruction. By his beaming grin after the play (check the 1:25 point of this video: http://nfl.si.com/2013/11/28/mike-tomlin-jacoby-jones-pittsburgh-steelers-baltimore-ravens/) you can see how sorry he is.
To add some context, a similar situation happened in week 14, 2010. NY Jets’ strength coach, Sam Alosi, was suspended for the remainder of the season as well and fined $25,000 for tripping a Miami Dolphin ST player. Alosi eventually did the right thing and apologized with this statement, "I let everyone down yesterday by my actions...My actions were inexcusable and irresponsible." (To be fair, both Roethlisberger and Pouncey issued their own apologies as well.)
It goes without saying that coaches affecting players on the field is not acceptable. I’m very interested to see Roger Goodell’s reaction. What do you think the league should do? Personally, I’d like to see the Steelers organization step up with a punishment of their own: a 1-3 game suspension, perhaps. As for the NFL, a $75,000 fine might help nip this in the bud.