Look, I get it. My beloved Pittsburgh Steelers coughed up a 45-42 playoff loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars. They lost to Blake freakin’ Bortles and Leonard freakin’ Fournette. They mismanaged the last minute of clock time, and they tried an onside kick that hadn’t been successful for the Black and Gold in nearly ten years.
Still, Pittsburgh had a hell of a season. AFC North champions again. A 13-3 regular season record. The Steelers’ staff will coach the Pro Bowl, which will have eight Steelers in the game.
Yep. A limited partnership within the Steelers organization – none of whom have the last name of Rooney – are trying to convince the rest of the ownership group to kick Tomlin to the curb and get a new head coach on the team.
Okay, let’s get a few things straight. This is a man who has won nearly 125 games in his coaching career. He’s taken the Steelers to two Super Bowls, and the Steelers have one one of them. He has never coached a team to less than a .500 record in his career, and he’s done this for eleven seasons – only the great John Madden and the great Curly Lambeau can claim that.
He’s worked with a myriad of talent, he’s smoothed egos and he’s been a harsh disciplinarian. He’s taken the brunt when things have not gone well, and he’s allowed his players to shine.
Look, even after this year’s playoff exit, most of the Steelers have announced they want to come back. They know that their window of opportunity for the big game is open so long as they all pool their talent. Our quarterback may have talked of retirement during the season, now he wants to come back. Wide Receiver Martavis Bryant, who demanded and begged for a trade in the middle of the year, publicly stated he wants to stay with the Steelers. And I know the team is working furiously to get a king’s ransom contract for running back Le’Veon Bell.
And you would fire a coach with this much talent and this much of a record?
Let’s look at the other coaches in the Steelers’ division. Jim Harbaugh coached the Baltimore Ravens to a dismal season. He’s coming back. Marvin Lewis can’t get the Cincinnati Bengals to win a freakin’ playoff game. He’s coming back. The Cleveland Browns’ Hue Jackson is coming back next year. How many games did the Cleveland Browns win this season? Not a single game.
And you can’t blame Tomlin for this season. It wasn’t Tomlin who caused defensive legend Ryan Shazier to injure his back in the middle of a game, causing him the rest of the season – and, God, I hope not, his playing career – to be in jeopardy. It wasn’t Tomlin who botched that onside kick – Chris Boswell is awesome on extra points and 50+ yard field goals to win games, heck he won three in a row off his golden right toe. Onside kicks? Not so much.
And the Steelers lose to a bunch of cheaters from New England … and now we’ve got freakin’ Junksonville as a boogeyman in our lives? You know what? Games happen. We still beat the Bungles twice a year, and we still beat the Clowns twice a year, and we still beat the Baltimore ex-Clowns twice a year. And we keep finding talent everywhere. T.J. Watt and JuJu Smith-Schuster and James Conner all came out of the most recent draft and all of them have shone like black and gold diamonds.
So there can be only one reason why anyone would want to fire Mike Tomlin as head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The only excuse that would justify any reason for firing.
They would want to fire Tomlin because of the color of his skin. And that’s the most absurd, stupid, narrow-minded reason of all.
Yeah, I know Tomlin is black. I also know that he’s an awesome coach. Don’t give me the argument that he won with previous head coach Bill Cowher’s crew; there’s only one player left from that roster, and that’s our current quarterback. Don’t give me the argument that he gets flustered with bad calls in key situations. Every coach in the National Football League has gaffe games as the worst possible times. You had a coach last year who coughed up a 28-3 lead to the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl … and he’s still coaching. Care to explain why?
I get it. Mike Tomlin is a convenient straw man for any time the Steelers are less than perfect. Marcus Gilbert gets popped for PED’s and earns a four-game suspension? Fire Mike Tomlin, the boo birds shout on the sports talk stations. Jamese Harrison acts like a malcontent to the point where he’s released form the team? Oh yeah, that’s all Tomlin’s fault.
No. Mike Tomlin is the Steelers’ head coach, and he deserves the respect and support of his position. He’s earned it. He’s out there with the team. He’s reviewing game film. He’s making the tough decisions. He’s there. He’s as much a part of the city of Pittsburgh as two dozen bridges and Primanti Brothers sandwiches on the Strip.
Come next year, there will certainly be new faces at training camp.
I just hope that the old face of Mike Tomlin will guide them to a championship in the 2018-19 season.