While the NFL world was glued to its collective TVs during perhaps the wildest regular-season finale in league history on Sunday, the viewer with the most at stake missed the drama.
Mike Tomlin told reporters on Tuesday that he didn’t see Daniel Carlson’s game-winning field goal against the Los Angeles Chargers that clinched a playoff berth for the Las Vegas Raiders — and his Pittsburgh Steelers. He was asleep.
“I missed the end of it. I dozed off,” the Steelers head coach told reporters on Monday.
“I knew I had a workday waiting on me, or I assumed I had a workday, waiting on me,” Tomlin said.
Only in the maniacally obsessive NFL, where wealthy head coaches sleep on cots in offices if they believe it gives their team an edge. Rather than watch the game that determined if he actually had a game to prepare for, Tomlin fell asleep anticipating an early morning of work.
Mike Tomlin couldn’t quite make it to the end of Sunday’s pivotal game. (Charles LeClaire-Reuters)
He explained that a second-half Raiders lead gave him the peace of mind to do so.
“I think at one point, [the Raiders were] up by 15, and that number made you somewhat comfortable,” Tomlin continued.
Tomlin missed a wild one — and thinks he’s better off for it
The Raiders indeed took a 29-14 lead midway through the fourth quarter. So if Tomlin’s account is accurate, that means he actually stayed up through 3 1/2 quarters of the Sunday night game before he decided he’d seen enough. Or his eyelids did, at least.
In case you missed it, a wild, unlikely set of outcomes during the day on Sunday ensured that the Steelers clinched a playoff berth — as long as the Raiders-Chargers game didn’t end in the even less likely event of a tie. The 2021 season produced a grand total of one tie game.
Yet, here we were late Sunday, and the Chargers had rallied to score two late touchdowns to send the game into overtime. With 9:58 of the 10-minute overtime clock expired, the game was again tied — an outcome…