On his weekly podcast, Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin criticized the impact that sports betting and fantasy football has on the NFL. Referring to a play Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick made late to secure the win in Pittsburgh’s 19-16 victory over the Atlanta Falcons, Tomlin suggested that fantasy football and sports betting has taken the focus away from winning games.
“It also shows you just the state of sport entertainment,” Tomlin said. “Man, it is ridiculous that we’re talking about something other than winning.
“Whether or not you had the Steelers’ defense and the fantasy points that you lost or the gambling aspects of overs and unders, just on a personal note, I’m saddened often by the distractions that could become part of viewing and enjoying men competing at the highest level in the game that we all love by fantasy teams and over and under lines.”
On the play in question, Fitzpatrick intercepted a pass from Falcons QB Marcus Mariota with 42 seconds left in the contest, deep in Falcons’ territory. Instead of taking the interception into the end zone, and scoring an easy touchdown, Fitzpatrick ran out of bounds at the Falcons’ 4-yard line.
By running the ball out of bounds, the Steelers could kneel the ball on the following play and kill the remaining 35 seconds left on the clock to secure the win.
But Fitzpatrick’s decision affected the total points scored and cost fantasy football players with the Steelers’ defense six additional points causing bettors to cry foul online after the game.