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Morning Java: Tomlin’s mea culpa

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …

>> The TribLIVE Radio show today — 2-3 p.m. — will feature fresh interviews from the Steelers’ locker room, as well as the Trib’s Penn State beat writer Chris Adamski in studio.

Call me at 412-320-7925 or email

To listen, just click on the link above. If you’re mobile, try the TribLIVE Radio app.

>> The Mike Tomlin sideline saga is covered by Alan Robinson. All that’s missing now is the actual NFL punishment.

Tomlin’s press conference is analyzed in Joe Starkey’s Wednesday column.

Out of respect to this being Joe’s column day, I’ll limit my own reaction to that topic thusly: I didn’t think on Thanksgiving that Tomlin did anything wrong intentionally. I didn’t think it after seeing the first video, second video, Zapruder video, All-22 video. And I didn’t think it after hearing the man yesterday.

Fine him for being on the field during play. That’s it.

There is a lot that I don’t appreciate about Tomlin. Some of that’s been in print. Some of it hasn’t. He isn’t particularly likable, to put it mildly. But I’ve never for a second questioned his integrity, and it’s stunning to me the number of people willing — no eager — to do exactly that.

Here’s our full Steelers coverage.

Here’s Dolphins news from the Miami Herald.

Here are official game highlights from


>> The Penguins get a statuesque goal from Sidney Crosby in overtime against the Islanders, by Rob Rossi in lovely Uniondale.

If you missed the goal, that’s OK. The Islanders did, too.

Here’s our full Penguins coverage.

Here’s Islanders news from Newsday.

Here are official game highlights from


>> Pitt rises up to a physical challenge from Penn State, by Kevin Gorman at the Pete. That’s 8-0.

>> A financial breakdown of the Pirates’ roster, by Rob Biertempfel.

>> Here are this week’s three winners in the Write-Your-Own-Column contest …

Patrick from Rhode Island on possible embarrassment in the Tomlin sideline aftermath:

Tomlin steps on the field, and ESPN hemorrhages. Days before, an NBA coach spills a drink to stall the game. Taken separately, these create only minor embarrassments to the teams. But if we could blow Tomlin’s misstep out of proportion sufficient to restore more sanctity to the playing field, all sports could improve. For example, the NCAA could give a basket and the ball to the other team every time a coach steps on a live court. An improvement like this would make Tomlin’s small step a giant leap for all sports fans.

DJ on Jeff Zatkoff as the Penguins’ backup:

Cannot take Zatkoff seriously until sample size is larger and he wins against better teams on a consistent basis, rather than the isolated game. Although bigger than Marc-Andre Fleury, there are more holes in his stance. He’s a flopper and slower to recover after an initial stop. Consequently, there have been many ripe second-chance opportunities when he’s flat on his back. Fortunately, most have been swept aside by teammates being in the right place at precisely the right time.  He’s a bright kid who’s improved since early outings. But he still needs to prove he’s a solid second option.

Wild Bill on Bill O’Brien being a success at Penn State:

O’Brien’s work in Year 2 was even more impressive than the last. The obvious team leaders graduated. The number of scholarship players shrank even more to 61. A freshman had to play quarterback. The defense was lacking in speed. The alumni continued to fight with each other. In this environment, the Lions won seven, two as big underdogs. In any realistic appraisal, O’Brien’s work was magical. And the biggest bit of magic was, with the restrictions still in place, he continues to recruit incredibly well. By two seasons from now – three at most – the Lions will truly roar.

>> Hope you can tune in today! And call!

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Author: Dejan Kovacevic

Dejan Kovacevic, a lifelong Pittsburgher, is an award-winning sports columnist for Trib Total Media covering the Steelers, Penguins, Pirates, Pitt and, recently, his fourth Olympics in Sochi, Russia. He also appears on WPXI-TV's 'Subway Final Word’ and hosts a weekly show on TribLIVE Radio. For 2011, he was named one of the country's top four columnists by the AP Sports Editors. For 2012, he was named one of the country's top three columnists by the National Headliners. For 2013, he was named the state's top columnist by the Keystone Press Awards and top columnist in Western Pennsylvania by the Golden Quills.

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