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Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Wake-up caw: NFL acknowledges mistake

By Jamison Hensley

In comments that should surprise no one, the NFL's head of officiating said Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin should've been penalized for stepping onto the field during Jacoby Jones' kickoff return.

"Any time a player or a coach from the sideline is in this white area, that's a 15-yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct," NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino said on the NFL Network, via The Baltimore Sun. "If they interfere with the play, it could be what's called a 'palpably unfair act.' In that instance, the referee could basically penalize the team whatever he deems equitable, which could include giving the Ravens a touchdown. That's not the case here, but certainly coach Tomlin was in the white. He should have been flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct."

The fact that Tomlin wasn't penalized was just as surprising as the Steelers coach being close to the field of play. Jones saw Tomlin in his way as he ran along the sideline, and it's a head-scratcher that the official trailing behind didn't see the same thing.

The NFL may announce Tomlin's punishment, which is expected to be a hefty fine, as early as Wednesday.

Here's the rest of your wake-up caw…