PITTSBURGH, Pa. — While the rest of the NFL-viewing world was affixed on the final moments of the final game of the season, the head coach of the team whose fate was in that game's hands had his eyes closed.
"I missed the end of it," said Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin. "I dozed off."
You read that right. Even though a tie in that Chargers/Raiders game Sunday night would have sent both Los Angeles and Las Vegas to the playoffs and eliminated his Steelers, Tomlin says he had turned in.
"I knew I had a work day," Tomlin said. "Well, I assumed I had a work day waiting on me."
That was a logical assumption. After all, there had been only one tie in the NFL all season, coincidentally between the Steelers and Lions.
"At one point, Oakland was up by 15 and that number made you somewhat comfortable," he said.
But the Chargers covered those 15 points and sent the game into overtime.
With less than a minute left in overtime and with both teams having incentives in tying, the seconds ticked down.
The Raiders had the ball just past midfield. Las Vegas converted on a third down and tried a field goal with two seconds left.
It was through, the Raiders were through and Tomlin's Steelers were through.
Tomlin had to be told later about the dramatics.
"I'm probably better off not watching it," he said. "It's probably not as an exciting description that you hoped."
He'll be awake for the next Sunday Night Football game. The Steelers travel to play the Chiefs during the Wild Card weekend.