Blog Entry

Tomlin: NFL shouldn't fine Polamalu for cell use

Posted on: October 18, 2011 9:01 pm
Will Polamalu face punishment for using cell phone? (AP)
Posted by Ryan Wilson

Other than beating the Jaguars Sunday, the big news for the Steelers was that Pro Bowl safety Troy Polamalu had to leave the game with concussion-like symptoms following a Maurice Jones-Drew tackle. The good news is that Polamalu is fine and should play against the Cardinals this week.

“[Troy] appears to be good to go,” Mike Tomlin said Tuesday at his news conference. “He did a concussion test, and he passed it. He met with our neurosurgeon [Dr. Joseph Maroon], and he’s very comfortable where he is.”

The bad news is that Polamalu may face a fine from the league for … using a cell phone from the Steelers' bench. The NFL prohibits players and coaches from using cell phones on the sidelines during games, presumably because Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez would order takeout (and, obviously, Rex Ryan would have the requisite snack requests -- naughty language alert).

But Polamalu wasn't on the horn for anything untoward -- he was calling his wife, Theodora, to let her know he was okay. Tomlin was asked if he thought the league might fine the Steelers safety anyway.

"He's had a history of concussion-like symptoms and so forth in the past. She was concerned. In this era of player safety, you would think that common sense would prevail in regards to some of those things," Tomlin said. "It wasn't a personal call. He wasn't checking on his bank account. He was talking to his wife to let her know that he was fine, and that was it."

As points out, the NFL has a history of meting out heavy fines to players and coaches who break this particular rule. During the 2005 season, then-Falcons head coach Jim Mora was fined $25,000 for using a cell phone during the team's overtime loss to the Bucs.

Then there's the guy probably most responsible for the current no-phone sideline situation: former Saints wideout Joe Horn. Back in 2003, he got the bright idea to hide a cell phone in the goal post padding, which led to this spectacle.

As for Polamalu, we'd like to think that Tomlin's right -- common sense will prevail. But if the league's haphazard policy for punishing players is any guide, Polamalu can expect anything from no fine to a four-game suspension.

Because if NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is anything, he's unpredictable.

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Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: October 19, 2011 8:04 pm

Tomlin: NFL shouldn't fine Polamalu for cell use

Making a blanket policy without ever thinking it through, ultimately leads to someone having egg on their face.  In this case?  THE NFL.

A blanket policy like that is necessary to say the least.  There are billions of dollars being bet world wide on sports these days and without policies like this in place all kinds of things can happen..... bad things. 

Since: Sep 25, 2006
Posted on: October 19, 2011 6:00 pm

Tomlin: NFL shouldn't fine Polamalu for cell use

If the rules say you can't use a cell phone during a game, he should be fined.  The players have the right to choose to disobey the rule and suffer the consequences.  If Polamalu isn't fined, then nobody should be fined and they should just do away with the rule.  If you waive the fine for him, every time someone gets hurt they are going to want to call their mom, wife, kids, parents, girlfriend, mistress, etc., to give an update.  How do we know he wasn't calling to negotiate his next hair commercial?

Since: Aug 27, 2006
Posted on: October 19, 2011 5:24 pm

Perfect example of Knee Jerk Reactions......

And the consequences of them.  Even in my line of work....Making a blanket policy without ever thinking it through, ultimately leads to someone having egg on their face.  In this case?  THE NFL.

Since: Nov 29, 2010
Posted on: October 19, 2011 4:13 pm

Tomlin: NFL shouldn't fine Polamalu for cell use

As long as you're fine with it, that's all that matters. Wink

Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: October 19, 2011 4:10 pm

Tomlin: NFL shouldn't fine Polamalu for cell use

Do these professional teams not have a PR person, liason, or intern (like the one who got spiked in the face in the Giants game) that can find out who a player would like to contact in case of injury? That way the league can maintain the no-cell policy and family can stay informed about injuries, etc. I guess Troy could have picked up the land line that is near the bench and asked an assistant coach in the booth to make that call also and save him some money. It's an easy fix. Don't fine him for this, but make it clear to everyone what the policy is and don't let it happen again.

It's kinda funny. Although I don't like the Steelers ( borderline hate maybe) one of my favourite players in the NFL is Troy Polamalu. The guy is in my opinion the best safety in today's game, and one of the best to ever play his position in the NFL.  He's fun to watch, goes all out every single play and once again in my opinion I think he's the Steelers MVP on defence, no doubt in my mind about that.  So even though I don't like the Steelers it's tough for me to say this after he suffered a concussion and wanted to call his family, but you know what? He needs to get fined,,,, actually, he BETTER GET FINED or get rid of the rule altogether.  The NFL can't put a rule like this in place for all the right reasons and then allow players and coaches to make exceptions whenever they feel like it.  Think about it for a second.  Players in the NFL get hit hard and get hurt every week all game long.  What's to stop another NFL player who isn't really hurt to use the excuse he's calling his family when in reality he's calling somebody he's not supposed to be calling during the game?  The answer: Nothing.  The NFL simply can't let this go... 

And yes is the answer to your question regarding the PR person you asked about.  God, these teams have employees all over the place, on the field, off the field, back home, etc.   They easily could have somebody else make that call for him, it would have been very easy to do. Troy chose to break the rules and his coaches allowed that to happen.... pay the fine and call it a day.  

Since: Nov 21, 2006
Posted on: October 19, 2011 3:02 pm

Tomlin: NFL shouldn't fine Polamalu for cell use

I'm a Steelers fan.  I think he should be fined.  It doesn't matter who he was calling, or if he was injured, or not.  The NFL has these rules for a reason, and even though this case doesn't come anywhere close to those reasons.  It doesn't change the fact that it's a rule.

I think cajun021 brings up a great point.  I always assumed there was some type of system NFL had to handle situations like this with injuries.  Apparently if he's calling her sitting on bench.  With a medical staff's phone.  Gotta assume no system is in place.  Which I find to be a real shame.  It would be simple for the league to setup a system where injured players can make a quick call on a league officials phone when something like this happens.  That way the league can be sure players are calling who they say they are calling, and loved family members can be 100 percent sure players are ok.

Whatever though.  He can easily afford whatever they wanna dish out to him, and as long as money goes towards something good like Steelerman1974 mentioned I'm fine with it.

Since: Mar 18, 2007
Posted on: October 19, 2011 2:52 pm

Tomlin: NFL shouldn't fine Polamalu for cell use

The reason he shouldnt get fined is simple. Has the NFL provided a way to comunicate to immediate family members in cases of medical emergencies or instances? If not then the NFL should fine themselves for not thinkng of this first.

Since: Dec 19, 2006
Posted on: October 19, 2011 2:36 pm

Tomlin: NFL shouldn't fine Polamalu for cell use

Tomlin is correct but I still see him getting fined.  The phone he used was from one of the medical staff on the sideline.  I look at it this way:  If it was me that was injured I would want to make sure that the words came from me that I was ok.   

Since: Jan 10, 2011
Posted on: October 19, 2011 1:13 pm

Tomlin: NFL shouldn't fine Polamalu for cell use

 a guy calling his family after he has been taken from the game due to injury SHOULD be allowed to make a call to their family.... even guys in jail get one call!
........................He can make all the calls he wants too, just not on a cell phone. This rule is not unfair and they have land lines in every locker room that he could have used. If you make an exception for injurys then what about all those other things that players would like to share with their lifemates like game winning plays, great hits, and records breaking performances? I mean he called from the sideline and if she cares for him as much as he cares for her she would have been watching the game and knew he was not so serious as to be taken to the hospital and if she wasn't watching then why call her at all about something she didn't know?
No this is a fair rule and even the Steelers should have to follow it......heck it is one of the few rules the do enforce fairly.

Since: Sep 11, 2008
Posted on: October 19, 2011 12:56 pm

Tomlin: NFL shouldn't fine Polamalu for cell use

Doesn't the NFL stand for National Fine League?  That's what they do.....deserved or not

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