Questionable pass interference calls in Sunday’s Steelers loss to the Saints left Pittsburgh fans wringing their hands and players complaining about the process.
Coach Mike Tomlin disagreed with some of the calls in the loss but does not think expanding replay to make pass interference penalties reviewable is the answer. As a member of the NFL’s competition committee, Tomlin acknowledged that the group will likely again discuss making PI subject to review but doesn’t see it as the solution.
“I have a firm position on that,” Tomlin said Tuesday, via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “I just worry about the entertainment component of it and what it might do for fans and the viewership and what it looks like. But given some of the things that have happened, I’m sure it will be up for debate as it always is and has been in recent years because technology and the amount of coverage that our game at this level gets — not only on Sundays, but seven days a week, which allows for that type of scrutiny and review.
“It’s just part of our business today. I think we all understand that. We’re all ready to have that debate every year. I don’t think we’re ever moving away from that debate — the utilization of technology and information in different components of the game whether it’s play, strategy, officiating or otherwise.”
The pace of play with the current number of penalty flags and reviews is certainly something the NFL will consider in all its decisions this offseason. If penalties, like pass interference, are reviewable, how much more bogged down will games become? Another issue the NFL considers when discussing making penalties reviewable is whether it wants one subjective judgment to overrule another subjective judgment. The answer up to this point has been no.
For Tomlin’s team, all he can do is get his players ready to beat the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday and hope the Browns beat the Ravens, which would allow the Steelers to sneak into the playoffs.
“How do you deal with it when your kids don’t listen?” Tomlin responded. “You move on. You have to focus on the things that are within your control because you’re going to miss an opportunity when you don’t. I choose to operate the way I want our team to operate. There will be plays that happen in a game, positively and negatively, for a variety of reasons whether it’s performance-related or officiating-related or anything-related. The bottom line is it’s done. It’s done. You have to move on. Most of the time what truly defines you are the plays that lie ahead. You can miss an opportunity crying over spilled milk. That’s not our style. That’s not my style, and it won’t be.”
The Steelers will move on to the Bengals for one week, and if things don’t break their way on Sunday, they’ll be moving on to 2019 without a playoff spot.