Gambling plays big role in NFL's fine for Tomlin

Dec 4, 2013 |
By: Jon Campbell
Tomlin's interference may have allowed Pittsburgh bettors to cover.
Photo By - USA Today Sports
Tomlin's interference may have allowed Pittsburgh bettors to cover.
Photo By - USA Today Sports
Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin was handed one of the harshest fines for a coach in NFL history when the league hit him in the wallet for $100,000 Wednesday.

It's a good move by the NFL and make no mistake: gambling plays a huge role in this decision.

In case you didn't see it, Tomlin got a little too close for comfort on the sidelines during a Jacoby Jones kickoff in the third quarter of the evening Thanksgiving game against the Baltimore Ravens - a game Baltimore won 22-20.

Jones said Tomlin's interference caused him to break stride "a little bit" and that he weaved to avoid the coach. He was tackled about 11 yards later, saving a touchdown.

Whether Tomlin broke Jones' stride or not may be subjective for the viewer. What isn't so subjective is that the Steelers covered the spread by a single point on the closing line.

The Ravens only managed a field goal on the ensuing drive which, in theory, took four points off the scoredboard if Jones was indeed on his way to the end zone on that kickoff return.

While I don't believe Tomlin was thinking about the pointspread when he interfered on this play, the NFL knows that doesn't matter.

"I understand with my position comes the charge of preserving and protecting the integrity of the game of football," Tomlin said Tuesday, "and I think probably my biggest error on Thursday night is not realizing that play jeopardized the integrity of the game from a perception standpoint."

The NFL may not be finished yet. The league said it might look at a "forfeiture of draft choices" for the Steelers once the 2014 draft order has been decided.

It's a steep penalty and kudos to the NFL for doing it. They know what it means for their massive sports betting audience. Now if only they'd admit it.
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