Here's an excerpt from my latest TribLive.com column. To read the whole thing, click HERE.
"During the Steelers’ 21-play drive, Diontae Johnson punctuated catching an 8-yard pass to convert a third-and-6 by getting in an opponent’s face. Johnson was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct, so the Steelers had to gain those 15 yards again.
A bit later, Marcus Allen barged into Carolina’s huddle and caused a ruckus. He, too, got flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct. It was fourth-and-27, but that penalty gave Carolina a first down. The Panthers ended up getting a field goal they wouldn’t have
Those penalties are inexcusable. Allen’s a scrub. He should be cut. He won’t be. But a marginal player like Allen can’t have such profoundly negative impact.
Heck, Johnson went right back on the field.
The actions of Johnson and especially Allen are inexcusable. But Tomlin accepts them. So do the team’s leaders. Nobody cares.
That’s not how winning teams conduct business.
It’s not the main reason the Steelers aren’t a winning team. It ranks below lack of talent, poor coaching, etc. But it’s a reason.
Tomlin will spew some empty platitude to excuse what Johnson and Allen did. “We prefer to look through the windshield, not the rear-view mirror, blah, blah, blah.” That’s assuming the media bothers to ask. (After the game, Tomlin said he didn’t see what caused Allen’s penalty. Why is the head coach not paying attention?)"