Mike Tomlin Gets $100K Fine, Maybe Draft Pick Penalty

The NFL handed down its punishment for Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin on Wednesday. It was stiff, but not as harsh as some pundits thought it could be. 

Tomlin was fined $100,000.

It's the fourth time a fine of $100,000 or more has ever been given to an NFL coach, per ESPN Stats & Info. New England's Bill Belichick received a $500,000 fine for what is now referred to as Spygate. The Jets received a $100,000 fine when Assistant Coach Sal Alosi tripped a Miami Dolphins player on the sideline.

The league is still considering whether it will take away draft picks from the Steelers. 

There was no suspension for Tomlin or fine for the Steelers organization as a whole. 

The discipline was issued by NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Ray Anderson. 

"Pittsburgh Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin been fined $100,000 for interfering with a play in progress during last Thursday night's game against the Baltimore Ravens," the league statement said. 

"In addition, because the conduct affected a play on the field, a modification or forfeiture of draft choices will be considered after the final order of the 2014 draft has been determined." 

The only rule the NFL states that Tomlin broke (Rule 13, Section 1, Article 4) is for simply being on the six-foot wide white border around the field.

It doesn't include any language for stepping onto the field, and does not cite Rule 13, Section 1, Article 7, which is the "Non-Player Palpably Unfair Act." 

The league said Tomlin's positioning in the white border during the play should have resulted in a 15-yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct. If it was part of the palpably unfair act, the Ravens could have been awarded a touchdown. 

Tomlin stepped onto the playing field as receiver/returner Jacoby Jones was running for what looked to be a possible touchdown. Instead, Jones shifted his running angle inside, which Jones said broke his stride. Jones was tackled by Steelers cornerback Cortez Allen after 73 yards and the Ravens settled for a field goal. 

There's also the question of Tomlin's intent, which the NFL did not address in its explanation. 

Multiple video replay angles show that Tomlin took a large side-step to the edge of the playing field before Jones reached him. Tomlin then lurched one foot further onto the field just as Jones approached before jumping back off the sideline. 

On Tuesday, Tomlin characterized his actions as an "embarrassing, inexcusable, illegal blunder." But he said his actions were not intentional.

The Steelers released a statement from Tomlin after receiving his punishment:

"As I stated yesterday, I take full responsibility for my actions, and I apologize for causing negative attention to the Pittsburgh Steelers organization," Tomlin said. "I accept the penalty that I received. I will no longer address this issue as I am preparing for an important game this Sunday against the Miami Dolphins."

On Monday, Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh said the Ravens have moved on from the incident following their 22-20 victory. 

"Our focus really is Minnesota. It's really not that play," Harbaugh said. "In the end, the good thing is that it worked out and we won the game. We had enough points to win the game in the end, so we can move on from that." 

There is no announcement yet on whether officials in Thursday night's game will receive punishment for not throwing a flag on Tomlin.

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