It's common to hear debates of "in or out" following a controversial play, but it's rare to discuss whether a foot being inbounds was intentional. This is the scenario we find ourselves in following the Thanksgiving game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens.
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin was standing on the field during a critical Jacoby Jones kick return that saw the speedy wide receiver alter his path, cutting slightly inside to avoid Tomlin. Behind the Steel Curtain acknowledges that it was a little suspect that the coach watched the play unfold on the jumbotron, but had a suggestion for Jones should this happen again.
For the record, if Jones hits Tomlin in that instance, he could be rewarded with a touchdown for interference. The replay would easily support such a charge.
So instead of rewarding Tomlin for his unfortunate choice of location on the play (or shrewd act of passive-aggressive strategy, with the likely opinion being decided based on which side of the rivalry one is on), perhaps Jones should just barrel into him at full speed, triggering what would likely have been the biggest fight in the history of this rivalry.
If he made it out of the scrum alive, he probably would have been given the touchdown. Instead, as he said, he was merely caught from behind.
In his postgame interview Jones said the play didn't matter because the Ravens got the win, but was quick to mention he hasn't been caught from behind in the past. There are a lot of reasons for the team to look past Tomlin's foot and enjoy the victory, but Baltimore Beatdown believes the controversial play will live in infamy.
You know that old saying right? If you truly believe Tomlin was accidentally that close to the sideline then I have some beachfront property in Idaho to sell you.
It'll be a hard sell for Tomlin when the NFL contacts him this week and asks why he was watching an ever-important play with his back turned the other way.
Ravens fans won't let this one go, either. It would have been worse if the Ravens lost.
With the Ravens winning, it's merely a footnote in terms of the outcome. But one that could further ignite fuel to an already hate-filled rivalry.
No love is lost on either side, and it will be fascinating when these teams meet in 2014. It's just a shame the layover is that long.