Bill Belichick is no stranger to his share of controversial actions against other teams, so it’s really not surprising that he’s defending Mike Tomlin.
Tomlin has already admitted to having stepped onto the field, downplaying the incident by saying “I do it quite often like everybody else in the National Football League. I was wrong. I accept responsibility for it.”
Belichick stated the following, agreeing with Tomlin:
“Yeah, I’ve been blown up a couple of times…There’s one play in particular where I was kind of watching the pass rush of the front and the ball was thrown. I didn’t really follow the ball that quickly and all the sudden the guy caught it and was right on top of me and [I] ended up under the Gatorade bench.
“Obviously if you’re watching the ball, it shouldn’t be that big of a problem. But if you’re trying to watch something else… Obviously we have to give the officials and the players room to play. Sometimes that just happens where you get guys caught up a little bit on the sideline. But yeah, I saw the play last night. I was like, ‘Oh my God, yeah.’ That could easily happen to any of us. It’s a good lesson, I have to be careful.”
This certainly doesn’t absolve Tomlin’s actions, but was what he did unheard of? In no way. But the moment at which it came, the wink and smile following, leads us to think there was some strategy that went along with it.
The League should act according.