Steelers’ Mike Tomlin Ripped for ‘Absolutely Idiotic’ Fake Field Goal Try

Mike Tomlin

Jason Miller/Getty Images Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin looks on against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium on October 31, 2021.

Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin is getting shelled on Twitter by NFL media and fans alike, who can’t make sense of his decision to call for a fake field goal late in the first half of Sunday’s 15-10 win over the Cleveland Browns.

To recap what happened: With less than two minutes to go in the second quarter, Steelers placekicker Chris Boswell trotted onto the field to attempt a 28-yard field goal, one that would have given Pittsburgh a 6-3 lead. Except Tomlin elected to have Boswell attempt a pass, with disastrous results.

Not only did Boswell’s pass fall incomplete, he appeared to take a helmet-to-helmet shot from Browns defender Jordan Elliott just after he released the ball. Boswell was injured on the play, and soon afterwards was ruled out for the remainder of the contest after “being evaluated for a concussion.”


Steelers Run Worst Fake Field Goal Ever… That Injured Kicker Chris Boswell2021-10-31T18:22:28Z

NFL Media, Fans React to Failed Fake Field Goal

Jake Trotter, who covers the Browns for ESPN, called it “one of the dumbest fake field goals you’ll ever see.”

Brooke Pryor, who covers the Steelers for ESPN, noted how Tomlin created a worst case scenario by not only failing to convert on the fake, but also by getting his uber-accurate kicker injured during what seemed destined to be a one-score game.

Another journalist—Joe Garofoli of the San Francisco Chronicle—referenced a Tomlinism, tweeting, “I wish you would have lived in your fears and not tried that fake field goal.”

Most NFL fans were a lot less diplomatic, with many resorting to using profanity in their tweets, like Evan James Staves:

Many others actively called for Tomlin to be fired for the decision, with one fan referring to it as “one of the worst coaching decisions I’ve seen in 50 years of watching football.”

Even Tomlin’s biggest supporters hated the call, with one saying, “I love Mike Tomlin but this game is solely on him if we lose…. Absolutely idiotic!”


Mike Tomlin: The Fake Field Goal Was a ‘Bad Call’

After the game, Tomlin stood before the assembled media and took responsibility for what he admitted was a lousy decision.

“The fake field goal was a bad call because we poorly executed it, so I take responsibility for that. I appreciate the guys backing my play and fighting for 60 minutes and delivering a victory and making it a side note.”

He also confirmed that Boswell is in the concussion protocol, as per Brooke Pryor of ESPN.

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Chris Boswell Successfully Executed a Fake Field Goal Attempt in 2018

For what it’s worth, Chris Boswell did throw for a touchdown on the only other occasion in which he was charged with using his arm to try to score points. In 2018, he tossed a two-yard touchdown pass to offensive tackle Alejandro Villaneuva against the Denver Broncos, also on a fake field goal try down near the opponent’s goal line.


Chris Boswell touchdown pass to Alejandro VillanuevaThe Steelers faked a field goal for a touchdown against the Broncos. *I do not own this clip, it is from NFL and CBS*2018-11-25T22:50:03Z

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Noe Campos
Noe Campos
6 months ago

For what it’s worth, yes, it was indeed an unwarranted play call.. but Boswell held on too long, Freiermuth was open by the pylon for a brief moment, but it looked as if Gentry was the intended target.. had Boswell released 2 seconds earlier he would’ve been ok, regardless of the outcome… also… as a Passer, shouldn’t that have been a Roughing the Passer?

Jim Zavinski
Jim Zavinski
6 months ago

The fake field goal was a bad call because it was poorly executed? You poorly executed coaching the game by calling for that bonehead play in the first place. Don’t throw the players under the bus by saying they didn’t execute. That drives me nuts it’s been your catch all phrase for years. “we didn’t EXECUTE” YOU didn’t execute. You said you wanted to be aggressive. There is a difference between aggressive and reckless.

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