USA Today Sports

Gambling plays big role in NFL's fine for Tomlin

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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Posted by tomnolan
1 year ago

maybe then 8 billion can go to education instead of the 4 billion education is getting now from the lottery!
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Posted by tomnolan
1 year ago

just make sports betting legal in every state and I will be so happy. come on already its so obvious that the whole country wagers on sports!!
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Posted by budwiser
1 year ago

What? I thought the people gambling ruin the integrity of the game. lol
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Posted by penguins1503
1 year ago

IT IS WHAT IT IS !!!.
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Posted by silentthread
1 year ago

What can you expect?! The Steelers and the Patriots are the 2 most classless organizations out there.
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Posted by grripper
1 year ago

this fine was a slap on the wrist and less than a speeding ticket for a regular guy its remarkable how the nfl media machine goes into overdrive saying how huge this fine was I thought 2 game suspension was more reasonable pit always has and always will receive preferential treatment this is a gambling site and people question the power vegas has over the game yeah ok its probably fantasy football guy who needs the authenticity of the outcomes preserved
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Posted by BigVal
1 year ago

It is possible if these types of incidents continue and in fact affected the out come pertaining to the point spread. It could very well affect the wagering on NFL games thus reducing the amount of tv dollars received due to the reduction of tv audience. How many people would watch a game if they didn't have a wager on it...........
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Posted by gfinger
1 year ago

Rumor has it that Tomlin did indeed take Pitt plus the points, so it makes sense what he did. Smart move.
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Posted by DarkHorse21
1 year ago

Player should have run into the coach. Then he would be suspended indefinitely. Typical black culture spilling over, and spinning out of control, in the NFL. Surprised Tomlin didn't go into a high step 'look at me'. The guy is a punk, and this showed it.
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Posted by hitting400
1 year ago

QMich... I completely agree that his actions affected the way that game was paid out. So does EVERYBODY you complete jackass. Read the title of this article. "GAMBLING PLAYS A BIG ROLE IN NFLS FINE OF TOMLIN". This article suggests gambling is the only reason the fine occured. Tomlin was going to get hammered no matter WHO covered. So POINTSPREADS had nothing to do with him getting the fine. If Jacoby Jones juked around Tomlin and scored -and Balty covered - Tomlin would STILL have gotten fined. You must have lost a ton bro. Because that fine was coming... and who the darn your bookie had to pay out played no part of it.
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Posted by -29-
1 year ago

My prior perception was that for some unknown reason, the Steelers seemed to always get favorable calls from the NFL. I felt that this latest Tomlin incident if left unchecked would be an indictment against the integrity of the league. Major kudos to the NFL for sending the right message here.
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Posted by JP3Stix
1 year ago

Agree 100% with hitting400, this is a ridiculous article. I bet every week and realize the implications fully, but Tomlin's actions had absolutely nothing intentional to do with which team covered the line, which is what the article implied. The writer of the article is reaching way too far, big-time.
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Posted by hitting400
1 year ago

Ok, Tomlin's interference played a part in the way this game was payed out. So what? Many things affect that in many games. Bad calls, taking a knee, FG then onside kick, stupid challenges, etc... But in no way, shape or form did GAMBLING affect this fine or it's severity. Tomlin made a boneheaded move and he will get a fine for it. If he did that and Balty STILL covered he would have gotten the same fine. Awful story, especially for the front page.
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Posted by QMICH
1 year ago

BUT BALTY DID NOT COVER, WHICH IS EXACTLY WHAT THE ARTICLE IS ALL ABOUT!
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Posted by QMICH
1 year ago

Posted by hitting400 2 hours ago Ok, Tomlin's interference played a part in the way this game was payed out. So what? SO WHAT? SO I HAVE NEVER SEEN A HEADCOACH STAND ON THE PLAYING FIELD TO CREATE A DIRECT OBSTACLE FOR THE OPPOSING TEAM TO SCORE A TD. BESIDES THAT, NO BIGGY!
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Top Response

Posted by hitting400
1 year ago

"QMich... I completely agree that his actions affected the way that game was paid out. So does EVERYBODY you complete jackass. Read the title of this article. "GAMBLING PLAYS A BIG ROLE IN NFLS FINE OF TOMLIN". This article suggests gambling is th..."