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Steelers’ Mike Tomlin concerned about viewers in flag-happy NFL

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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin speaks to the media during his weekly news conference Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018 at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex.

Mike Tomlin has no qualms with how Monday night’s game was officiated from a competitive or fairness standpoint. The Pittsburgh Steelers coach is concerned, though, about how the abundance of flags might be affecting the product the NFL is selling to the public.

“As somebody who loves football,” Tomlin said during his weekly news conference, “that probably wasn’t a fun game to watch.”

The Steelers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers combined for 28 penalties (24 of which were accepted) that resulted in 235 yards of field-position change in what ended up a 30-27 Steelers victory. The Steelers were responsible for 13 of those accepted penalties for 155 yards – the third consecutive game to begin the season in which they were penalized at least 12 times.

Tomlin acknowledges that the Steelers need to play “cleaner” if they are going to be successful. But what perhaps is bothering him just as much, to borrow one of his phrases, is the global perspective of how all the flags are harming the league and the sport.

“I don’t worry a lot about the way the game is being officiated provided it’s being officiated in a similar way (for both teams),” Tomlin said.

“But as somebody as appreciates the game and understands we’re in the sports and entertainment business, it is worrisome from the fan perspective. I do worry about what it’s like to watch that game at home, with penalties being administered at the rate that they were.”

That Tomlin opened up his news conference speaking about the abundance of penalties suggests a legitimate concern.

As a member of the NFL’s competition committee, Tomlin has some power in changing rules, although he said Tuesday that he was speaking more from a fan and steward-of-the-game perspective than as someone with an official role on the committee.

The Steelers are the NFL’s most-penalized team this season – by far – at 12.3 per game, a rate that is almost double what they were flagged last season (6.2 per game).

According to teamrankings.com, teams are averaging 7.3 penalties per game this season, up from 6.6 last season.

Hey, Steelers Nation, get the latest news about the Pittsburgh Steelers here .

Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chris at [email protected] or via Twitter @C_AdamskiTrib.

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