Mike Tomlin was fined $100,000 by the NFL for getting too close to the field in last week’s Steelers game against the Ravens. In the preseason, Tom Coughlin was flagged for a 15-yard penalty for a somewhat similar infraction in the game against the Colts.
“Right now there’s such a premium on: ‘You better stay off the white! You better stay off the white!’” Coughlin said, referring to the broad area along the sideline that is supposed to remain clear. “We’re all yelling and screaming that. We’re reminded by the officials about that every week, too.”
Of course, during a game, it’s sometimes difficult to remember where the boundaries are. Coughlin is notorious for encroaching onto the field. There are some times when he’ll actually be all the way out near the numbers if he’s worked up about a particular play (but that’s normally in between snaps, not during game action which was where Tomlin ran afoul).
“You find yourself sometimes running down the sideline on the white, but nevertheless you’re not even supposed to be on the white because the officials have to have access there,” he said. “That is a most difficult penalty to absorb.”
Ironically, Tomlin wasn't flagged on the play. Just fined afterwards, although the NFL said there should have been an in-game penalty.
Coughlin was contrite when hit with that penalty in the preseason, although he did have a heated discussion with Ed Hochuli about it at the time.
“I was wrong,” Coughlin said after that game. “It wasn’t a very smart move.”