At his weekly press conference on Tuesday, Steelers’ head coach Mike Tomlin made his first public comments about the situation at the end of the game against the Browns last Thursday which led to multiple ejections and suspensions. Immediately following the game, Tomlin refused to comment on the situation which had just occurred. With emotions running high as well as other factors, waiting to address the issue was probably a wise decision.
“Post game I did not have a lot to say about the unfortunate incident that transpired at the end of the game and really thoughtfully so,” Tomlin stated. “It was ugly. It was ugly for the game of football. All of us that are involved in the game particularly at this level want to safeguard and protect the game and its integrity. And in that instance it was compromised, obviously, with an unfortunate incident. None of us want those things to transpire. It did. We were a part of it. We except responsibility for our actions within it.”
At the time, Tomlin did not specify his thoughts on the Steelers exact responsibility within the incident. Instead, Tomlin went on to mention a detailed reaction to the incident is not helpful for those players going through the appeal process.
“I won’t have a lot to say in great detail regarding it. We have some people going through appeals and so forth and I don’t want to jeopardize that in any way.”
Coach Tomlin then went on to explain why he did not address the situation immediately following the game, mainly in the context of using it as a distraction to their performance on the field.
“But another reason why I didn’t want to talk in great detail about what transpired at the end of the game is because it had little to no bearing on determining the outcome of the game,” Tomlin stated. “Our execution, or lack thereof, did. Like I told our team yesterday, it’s easy to seek comfort in that sidebar distraction and not talk about what really needs to be talked about from our perspective is that we played a losing football game. We didn’t execute well enough in all three phases to secure victory. We’ve got to be accountable for that. We’ve got to acknowledge that. We’ve got to adjust and build a plan to minimize that occurring again as we move forward.”
The final question of the press conference asked Coach Tomlin about what he and other coaches could learn from this incident to keep it from happening in the future. While coach Tomlin dismissed the idea of speaking for other coaches, he was asked about him personally. Tomlin’s response to the question may have been the most important insight as to his thoughts on everything that went down at the end of the game on Thursday.
“I don’t know that we did anything to make it happen anyway in the first place. That’s why I said we didn’t have anything to learn from it.”