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Despite Issues, Mike Tomlin Defends Pass Interference Challenge Rule

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PITTSBURGH — Mike Tomlin finally got a challenge right on Monday night, snapping an 11-challenge losing streak with a pivotal challenge that overturned the spot on what would have been a Miami Dolphins fourth-down conversion.

Sunday against Indianapolis Colts, he started another losing streak.

Tomlin challenged two plays in the Steelers’ 26-24 victory, both of them on the Colts’ final drive and both of them as part of the league’s new rule that allows coaches to challenge for pass interference.

The first was a defensive pass interference call against Steelers cornerback Steve Nelson. Nelson got tangled with Colts receiver Zach Pascal, giving the Colts 35 yards. The second, Tomlin challenged that Pascal pushed off against Nelson for a 19-yard gain.

Neither was overturned.

In many ways, that result is unsurprising. The league has adjusted the standard for what it takes to overturn a pass interference call in-season, making for what Tomlin has called a “moving target.” Right now, that seems overwhelmingly skewed toward sticking with the call on the field.

The Colts were also victimized by the same theory in a call that went against Marvel Tell in the fourth quarter. Tomlin is aware of the current trend, but says his challenges were still worth the risk of losing a timeout.

“I know I’m running on the beach in that regard, but given the circumstances and the gravity of those plays, it was worth the risk,” Tomlin said. “Though the risk, I acknowledge, was extremely high.”
If All Pro kicker Adam Vinatieri had made his 42-yard field goal at the game’s end, the Steelers would have had just 1:11 and one timeout to attempt a game-winning drive. Enough time, but certainly cutting it close.

While the calls on the final drive didn’t go Tomlin’s way, the stands behind the decision made by the NFL competition committee to allow challenges on pass interference, stemming from a blown call in the NFC Championship Game in January. Tomlin is a part of that committee.

“We all agreed that something needed to be done based on what transpired in January football,” he said. “We have all be very transparent about that. That has been written and talked about over and over again. And so, my position doesn’t change based on what happens in the stadiums here moving forward. We made the right decisions, we did the things that we needed to do to preserve the integrity of the game, to safe guard the game in the appropriate ways.

“It didn’t fall in my favor today. Such is life.”

Steelers

JuJu Smith-Schuster Delivers Pizzas to Steelers Fans

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Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster is bringing some joy to fans during tough times.

Smith-Schuster spent his Tuesday afternoon delivering pizzas for PizzaHut, and even took the time to snap a pic with a young fan, courtesy of JimStamm22 on Twitter.

A fan favorite, Smith-Schuster is entering his fourth season in Pittsburgh.

After an explosive sophomore season in 2018, Smith-Schuster battled injuries and inconsistent quarterback play that combined for a lackluster 2019.

With the return of franchise quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, Smith-Schuster appears primed to deliver more than pizzas this upcoming season.

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Report: Steelers to Hold Training Camp at Team Facility, Not at Saint Vincent College

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It looks like the Steelers will be staying home for training camp this August.

According to a report by ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Tuesday, the league has informed teams that they must hold training camp at their facilities later this summer in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Steelers will now be conducting training camp on the South Side, instead of their traditional summer home of Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, snapping a 54-year streak.

The league still plans for training camp to begin on time, but has made no announcement on changes to the season or whether games will have fans.

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Steelers Honor 2020 Graduates at Heinz Field

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The Pittsburgh Steelers are showing love to the 2020 graduates that had their senior years cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The team honored this year’s graduating class by displaying a congratulatory message on the scoreboard at Heinz Field Friday night.

A few current and former Steelers players also voiced their support on social media, including running back James Conner, defensive end Cam Heyward and retired defensive end Brett Keisel.

“Keep focused, keep chasing your dreams,” Conner said. “I know 2020’s been a wild year, but just stay focused, stay locked in. I know you guys are all going to go and accomplish great things.”

Students across the Pittsburgh area have been forced to finish the school year from home, and have unfortunately had to miss out on some of life’s biggest milestones, such as prom and graduation day.

It’s great to see the Steelers doing their part to make students feel celebrated and recognized.

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