While the NFL world was glued to its collective TVs during perhaps the wildest regular season finale in league history on Sunday, the viewer most missed the drama.
Mike Tomlin told reporters on Tuesday he did not see Daniel Carlson’s winning field goal against the Los Angeles Chargers, who got a spot in the playoffs for the Las Vegas Raiders – and his Pittsburgh Steelers. He slept.
“I missed the end of it. I dozed off,” the Steelers head coach told reporters Monday.
“I knew I had a work day waiting for me, or I assumed I had a work day waiting for me,” Tomlin said.
Only in the manic-obsessed NFL, where wealthy head coaches sleep in cribs in offices, if they think it gives their team an advantage. Instead of watching the match that decided if he actually had a match to prepare for, Tomlin fell asleep in anticipation of an early morning at work.
He explained that a Raiders lead in the second half gave him peace of mind to do so.
“I think at some point, [the Raiders were] up by 15, and that number made you a little confident, “Tomlin continued.
Tomlin missed a wild one – and thinks he’s better off for it
The Raiders actually took a 29-14 lead midway through the fourth quarter. So if Tomlin’s account is correct, it means he actually stayed up through 3 1/2 blocks of the game Sunday night before deciding he had seen enough. Or so did his eyelids.
If you missed it, a wild, unlikely set of outcomes during the day on Sunday ensured the Steelers got a spot in the playoffs – as long as the Chargers-Raiders game did not end in the even less likely draw. The 2021 season produced a total draw.
Still, we were here late Sunday and the Chargers were gathered to score two late touchdowns to send the game into overtime. When 9:58 of the 10-minute overtime clock had expired, the match was again a draw – a result which, if completed, would have sent both players into the playoffs and knocked out the Steelers.
But instead of taking a knee, the Raiders decided that the long-range backside at a blocked field goal that led to a Chargers score was worth the risk in the name of defeating their AFC West rivals. Carlson’s 47-yard kick was actually not blocked. Instead, it sailed through the posts to lower the Chargers’ playoff hopes while securing a postseason bid for both the Raiders and Steelers. An all-day narrative and a more dramatic result could not have been written.
And after participating in / watching most of it unfold, Tomlin slept through the climax. And he’s okay with that.
“I’m probably better off not having seen it.”