Mike Tomlin, head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers, has every right to be angry.
With 7-8 Pittsburgh considered a long-shot for the AFC wildcard, the Steelers saw the stars align, getting three of the four outcomes they needed to be the top 8-8 team in football and land the final playoff spot.
First, the Steelers took care of their own business, beating the AFC North’s punching bag, the Cleveland Browns, 20-7 at home in Pittsburgh’s own Heinz Field. Then the Steelers got the breaks they needed in two other games when the Baltimore Ravens were knocked out by the Cincinnati Bengals and the Miami Dolphins were eliminated by the New York Jets. All eyes were on the final factor: the San Diego Chargers and the Kansas City Chiefs.
Well, mostly all eyes. Most of the time. Except for when it mattered.
As you surely know by now, the officials in the Chargers-Chiefs tilt missed a crucial, game-altering penalty against San Diego. They should have been called for an illegal defensive formation on the Chiefs’ game-winning field goal attempt. However, kicker Ryan Succop missed the attempt and referee Bill Leavy’s crew missed the infraction, sending the game to overtime and the Chargers to the postseason with an overtime win. Had Succop been given another kick—from 36 yards—and made it, Mike Tomlin’s Pittsburgh Steelers would be watching the playoffs unfold from the sidelines instead of their sofas.
So, Mike Tomlin, head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers, has every right to be angry.
Instead of taking it to the soapbox, Mike Tomlin is taking the high road and taking it on the chin. As part of the NFL’s competition committee, which determines rule changes to improve game play, Tomlin recognizes there are shortcomings in officiating that need to be addressed.
“Obviously, there’s a lot of work [to do] from an officiating standpoint,” Tomlin said Monday during his season-ending news conference. “I think it’s been well-documented in the last several weeks, not only in stadiums we’ve played in, but others [too].”
But, considering the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2-6 start:
“I’m not looking to assess blame on anybody else about our current position other than ourselves,” Tomlin said via ESPN.
Tomlin said he was watching the Chargers-Chiefs; when asked if he was yelling at the TV prior to the snap of the game in question, Mike Tomlin replied “I’ll leave that between myself, my sons and our basement.”
What do you think about Mike Tomlin’s Pittsburgh Steelers missing the playoffs in such a fashion? Did the officials rob the Pittsburgh Steelers of their shot at the playoffs?