May 21, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin (right) oversees organized team activities at the UPMC Sports Complex. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Bill Cowher vs. Mike Tomlin: Round Two


I love being a Steelers fan. Even more so, I love debating with Steelers fans because, and forgive me for being biased, they are the most passionate and knowledgeable of all. After my round one match-up on Tuesday, many were questioning my sanity and what the relevance of the topic was. And while my sanity is debatable, the relevance is something else.
Whether or not we want to admit it, the Pittsburgh Steelers have some serious issues, both on and off the field. Now a coach can’t control the off the field stuff, but he can create an environment or a mentality that could translate to off the field matters. It’s also an organizational attitude as well, defined by the ownership on down. But unless you are Jerry Jones or Daniel Snyder, most owners keep out of the limelight and leave team matters to the head coach.
As I look back at the 2012 season and combine that with the off the field issues over the last few years with Ben, Santonio Holmes, Chris Rainey, etc and when I hear guys publicly airing team issues, it convinces me even more that this team is in trouble and has reached a critical juncture. And to that, I have reached the equal conclusion that Mike Tomlin has lost his effectiveness as a coach and control of his team. Plain and simple, that’s my opinion. I don’t think he has the coaching style or demeanor to light a fire under these guys anymore and the fact that the above mentioned issues have come under his watch (Roethlisberger’s motorcycle accident aside) should raise some eyebrows. Obviously, by the comments I received many of you feel differently.That’s perfectly fine, I don’t question anyone’s sanity for feeling that way.
However, before I examine why I have pitted Tomlin against Cowher, let’s look at the 2012 season.

It was pointed out that the Steelers lost 5 games by a combined 15 points. Hey, hard to argue with facts. But look at some other facts: First, in their 8 wins, they beat 4 teams with winning records including 3 playoff teams (Ravens, Bengals and Redskins). However, in their 8 losses, 5 came against teams with records of .500 or below including bottom feeders such as the 4-12 Raiders and the 5-11 Browns. The others were to 6-10 Tennessee, 7-9 San Diego and 8-8 Dallas. And remember, they barely beat 2-14 Kansas City. The combined record of all the teams Pittsburgh beat in 2012 was 56-72. The records of the teams they lost to was 63-65. Now before you all throw the old cliche that you can only play who is on your schedule at me, if you can’t beat the teams worse than you, what does that say about motivation and imposing your will? And don’t hand me this business about the NFL being much more equal than it has ever been, if you’re a winner, you don’t lost to 4-12 and 5-11 teams. Tomlin does have a very nice record against the division, going 25-11, including a sterling 6-0 in 2008 their Superbowl winning year and one of the most thrilling years in memory. One should note though that over the last three years their record against the division has been 5-1 to 4-2 to 3-3 last year. As the division has improved, Pittsburgh’s record against it has declined. Blame the offense, the defense, injuries or Santa Claus, in the end it all falls on the head man, Mr. Tomlin.

So what am I saying here? I’m saying Tomlin isn’t the man. I’m also saying that if Bill Cowher were still here, I truly believe much of this off the field garbage wouldn’t be. I also think he’d be the right type of personality to get the team back on track again, whereas I don’t think Tomlin is. While I think Cowher is and was a better fit for Pittsburgh, I don’t for one minute think they should bring him back. I think the front office should look for a coach like Cowher, whose style and personality not only fit the team, but the city. It is possible to catch lightning in a bottle twice. To back up why I feel this way, I am comparing the two coaches in a series of categories. On Tuesday I looked at how Cowher would not have tolerated lazy or sloppy play, how he was not afraid to jettison dead weight, not wait for it to depart via free agency. Other than briefly benching RB and first round dog Rashard Mendenhall, Tomlin seems less willing to shake things up. And under Cowher, locker room matters would have been handled in house, not on twitter or the NFL network.
The argument for Tomlin was presented to me by saying that in his first two years with Pittsburgh, Tomlin took the team to the playoffs twice and won a Superbowl with largely a team built under Cowher. Hmmm, ok that’s great. What is that saying exactly? That Tomlin can take someone else’s players and turn them to winners? Look at Cowher’s record in his last three years: 15-1, 10-6(Superbowl) and 8-8. He didn’t exactly leave the cupboard bare. In Chuck Noll’s last three years before Cowher arrived the team was 5-11,9-7,7-9. In Cowher’s first year with largely the same team he went 11-5, one better than Tomlin. You tell me who did the better job. Oh and while Cowher walked away after his last year, so did Noll. Both could have stayed and neither was fired.
One more point about this notion of winning with a team another coach built: Bill Callahan in his first year with the Oakland Raiders took them to the Superbowl, even though it was a team built under Jon Gruden. Does that make Callahan a better coach and motivator than Gruden? Oh, and who did Callahan’s Raiders lose to? Gruden’s Tampa Bay Bucs, a team built under Tony Dungy. Does that make Gruden a better coach and motivator than Dungy?

To me, Bill Cowher’s greatest weakness as a coach was his teams’ inability to take advantage of their high seeding in the playoffs. His teams had records of 12-4,11-5,11-5,13-3,15-1 and yet time and again failed to take advantage. In their lone Superbowl victory under Cowher they were 10-6 and a sixth seed. Plus, in 10 years, Cowher’s team lost the AFC Championship at HOME 4 times. Totally unacceptable. But, in 6 of their playoff losses under Cowher it was to the team that represented the AFC in the Superbowl. The two playoff losses under Tomlin came to the Jaguars and Broncos, neither of whom made it to the Superbowl. To be fair and honest, I think the Cardinals team Tomlin beat in the Superbowl was better than the Seahawks team Cowher beat. But I think the Dallas team Cowher lost to was far better than the Packers team Tomlin lost two. And if it wasn’t for idiot O’Donnell and his two bonehead INTs, Steelers history may be a little different.

In his fourteen years with the team, Cowher’s Steelers failed to make the playoffs five times : 1998,1999,2000,2003,2006. Tomlin has been here since 2007 and has already failed to make the playoffs twice. Cowher took the team to the playoffs in his first six years. However, Tomlin has yet to have a losing record in any of his years, Cowher had four. Both coaches had teams go 9-7 and fail to make the playoffs. For Tomlin that was his third year and still with a core put together under Cowher. To me, Tomlin’s first true year with a team comprised with mostly his guys was 2010, the year they lost to Green Bay in the Superbowl. Since then they had the horrid loss in OT to Tim Tebow and the Broncos in the 2011 playoffs and last year’s lackluster 8-8.

So, with all these facts in mind, what am I saying? Tomlin has now put in half the time Cowher has so I think we can evaluate both fairly. I go back to the comment made that Tomlin took a team with most of the same players Cowher had and got them to the playoffs and a Superbowl in his first two years. Tomlin has failed to make it to the playoffs twice in six years, while Cowher failed 5 times in 14 years. Cowher’s personality defined a team, a style and a city. Tomlin? Cowher’s first losing season came in his seventh year, Tomlin is now in his seventh year. The 2012 team was uninspiring and lost to 5 teams .500 or worse, so that says alot. There is a definite lack of passion and fire on this team and a sense of laziness seems to have come over them. If I had to pick who I would want to be coaching the team right now, right at this juncture to get them fired and riled up again, I’d have to go with Cowher in a close one. That’s my opinion and point here, it’s purely on me. I think Bill Cowher or someone like him just fits the Pittsburgh Steelers better than Mike Tomlin or someone like him does.

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Tags: Bill Cowher Mike Tomlin Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Pridenpoise

    I’m not a Steeler fan so this opinion is as unbiased as they come, and wanting to go rid of Tomlin, because of the reasons you listed are mental, good luck replacing him, If you ask me Cowher is the one who blew a lot of opportunities in the playoffs, however, that was before they had a decent QB, I think the Steelers are aging and losing some core guys, they always seem to find a way to stay at the top of their division, your suggestion reeks of desperation, I’m sure the Steelers will be fine they always are, and I doubt Tomlin is going anywhere in the near future, if you want to fire him we would love to have him in Oakland, where it seems we can’t convince a decent coach to accept the position, hopefully that’s changing.

    • Adam Banig

      I think I’ll just agree to that. I could write a book opposing the article but its obvious I’d be wasting my time because as much as the writer wants Tomlin to go, 99.9%’of steelers nation knows it isn’t happening any time soon.

      • Craig

        That’s a good point, Adam. The FO of the Steelers are not known for their quick and rash decisions on coaching changes over the last 40 years. :)

  • BossSteelerChick

    “It’s also an organizational attitude as well, defined by the ownership on down. But unless you are Jerry Jones or Daniel Snyder, most owners keep out of the limelight and leave team matters to the head coach.” I beg to differ with that statement because Art Rooney DID meddle and resembled Jones and Snyder a little too much for my liking. He insisted on a running game; he did not extend Bruce Arians’ contract and issued a statement that BA retired when in fact he did NOT retire, as we found out soon after Rooney’s statement (I personally think Rooney didn’t like the relationship BA had with Ben), and need I mention BA went on to win coach of the year? Rooney also said Ben needed to “tweak” his game. (Really? Nine years, 3 SB appearances and 2 rings later, Ben needs to tweak his game?) I don’t know who brought in Haley, whether it was Tomlin or Rooney, but surely Rooney approved his hiring. It’s my personal opinion that both Tomlin and Haley were under “orders” last season, and my point is that the Steelers were WINNING until last season. So analyze that. I was born and raised a Steeler fan and have been around since before the 70s. My hope is now that Dan is back, the Steelers can get back to WINNING, with the Coach in charge and the owner(s) back in the office.

    • Adam Banig

      Dan Snyder was only like that when he had Cerrato. When he hired, Marty, Gibbs and Shanahan those coaches ran the show.

      • BossSteelerChick

        Yes, I totally agree. I live in Skins territory and I’m glad for Skins fans that era has ended.

  • VRWC

    I will always love Cowher, but the reason he always lost the big game until 2005 is pretty easy to diagnose…. he played Marty Ball as in his ex boss Marty Schottenheimer. You want to define regular season excellence and playoff choking, look no further than Schottenheimer’s Cleveland, KC and San Diego squads, plus Cowher from 1992 thru 2004…. those teams surely own all the records for #1 seeds losing at home….
    A ground pounding offense and a tough D are great for piling up regular season wins, but if you want to win in the playoffs against better defenses that can stuff the run, you better be able and willing to mix it up and throw…. especially on first down.
    It is not a coincidence that Cowher didn’t win until he abandoned MartyBall in the 2005 playoffs and started throwing on first down…. as in the AFC Divisional win against Indy….

    • scott sinclair

      Great point VRWC

    • Adam Banig

      If its not for a shoe string tackle by Ben in Indy of that 05-06 season, Cowher doesn’t even go to the Super Bowl. Because they did play Marty ball that season most of the year.

      I mean if we’re really being honest about everything here, no matter the coach, the one constant that has kept the steelers winning since 04 is Ben Roethlisberger and the steelers D, coached by Lebeau.

      • VRWC

        That they played Marty ball most of the year goes along with my point…. what they needed to go all the way was to mix it up on first down in the playoffs and they did that…. Marty…. and pre 2005 playoffs Cowher…. would have just kept running into a stacked D all night, with predictable results.

        That the Steelers were capable of throwing more credits Ben as much as Cowher, but Cowher did change his play calling…. recall the shock on Indy’s side when the Steelers came out throwing with that great pass to Heath Miller on the first drive.

        Of course none of it happens without the defense…. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a better called defensive game than the one at Indy…. there were plays when 3 of their lineman had no one to block…. mass confusion all night thanks to LeBeau….

        • Adam Banig

          Did Cowher call the plays or did Wisenhunt?

          • VRWC

            I’m sure Whisenhunt called the actual plays, but I promise you that he didn’t come out slinging it on first down without Cowher’s approval.

          • Adam Banig

            No doubt. I was just saying

          • VRWC

            But you make an important point…. what drove Cowher to change from marty ball? Was it Whisenhunt, or being a 6 seed or 13 years of failure? Likely a combination of all three…. I wonder if Cowher will ever write about it….

          • Craig

            Now THAT would be a book I would certainly want to read. Should we expect it after his second stint at coaching?

          • VRWC

            Me too, although I wonder if Cowher would admit to the change…. more likely he’d attribute it to Ben’s talent which would be understandable but not completely accurate in my opinion.
            Let’s face it, Marty Schottenheimer never figured it out

          • Adam Banig

            I don’t see Cowher talking about some changes in play calling for a few games in a book he “may” write in the future.

      • Jay

        If not for a total blown call by the ref on Polamalu’s interception the game would’ve been over before Ben had to make that tackle but since it was reversed and didn’t make the highlight reel on ESPN I know you may have missed that Adam. I figured I’d let you know that it actually did happen. At least you admit Ben one of the biggest common denominators in the Steelers winning ways. That might help to explain how they went 15-1 in 04, won the Super Bowl in 05, went 8-8 in 06 and 10-6 and back to the playoffs when he was healthy again in 07.

        • Adam Banig

          I remember the poor call. Still it happened and without the tackle they don’t win.

          Yes. 2
          Common denominators. Big Ben and the defense led by Lebeau

    • Michael Mazanowski

      Cowher never surprised teams in the playoffs (major issue) until he finally had a franchise QB, in Ben Roethlisberger, whereby he could finally surprise teams. Cowher always got the Steelers close but Ben helped him seal the deal.

  • Kimmy

    I stayed away from this debate as long as I could because I think it’s just an unfair debate to have. I love each coach for far different reasons. I think comparing them is like comparing apples to goats though. Starting off by saying that you don’t think Tomlin is the man for the job, in my opinion, clouds the statistics that you’re using. If you had gone into this totally unbiased you might see things differently. You’re also basing your opinions on things you are just assuming but can never know for sure which are the types of locker rooms and meetings rooms each coach runs. You don’t know what it was like inside a Cowher locker room anymore than you know what it’s like inside a Tomlin locker room. You’re assuming that you do based upon the actions of a few players. Also you’re not taking into account the culture change that the NFL has gone through since Cowher’s departure. The NFL that Cowher coached in is not the same as it is today, which could be one of his many reasons for not returning to coaching. Like it or not the Steelers are lucky to have Tomlin as their coach and I have complete faith that he can lead the team out of the 8-8 funk that was last season.

    • scott sinclair

      Fair point Kim, but I never said Tomlin is a bad coach nor do I dislike him. Actually, it’s quite the opposite, I loved his hiring. i just think certain coaches lose their effectiveness after certain periods. Back when Cowher was going through 3 straight losing seasons, I felt his time with the team should have ended, but they stuck with him and look what eventually happened. Hey, the same could happen this year which I would be more than happy to celebrate. As you said and I agree, I think the NFL has changed and not for the better. But discipline guys like Tom Coughlin, Bill Belichick, Jim Harbaugh seem to have a firm grasp on their teams and don’t allow for the public airing of team issues. Guys are always going to whine about contracts, after all athletes live in a world of their own. But the chatter during this offseason is different. Guys calling out Woodley, Clark saying there was a divide in the locker room, the questioning of leadership. All three of the coaches I mentioned aren’t afraid to bench or cut guys who aren’t contributing, and I think the Steelers need that type of guy at this moment. I think Tomlin reminds me of Chuck Noll which is you don’t see him being demonstrative very often. But Noll’s locker rooms patrolled themselves as did Cowher’s. And Noll would bench guys as well. As I said Tomlin has a great record against his division and has yet to have a losing season. Those are huge pluses. But you can’t measure a coach on just how he did taking another coaches’ players and taking them to the promised land as Tomlin did. It just seems that as the talent on the team has regressed, the records in the division have declined, they couldn’t beat bad teams last year, and there seems to be an extra amount of off the field ‘garbage’ in recent years. It’s more than a funk. This team has no feature back, an aging defense that is on ‘paper’ very good but does not create turnovers a collection of underwhelming 1st round picks (Pouncey aside, he’s an A+), poor special teams, no deep threat at WR, and players publicly calling each other out. Funk? It goes beyond a funk.

      • DidusayJenn

        Clearly you are forgetting that Tomlin inherited an 8-8 team himself. To not give him credit for the victory in the 2008 Super Bowl is kinda funky.

        • Jay

          I so sick of hearing how Tomlin inherited an 8-8 team. Tomlin inherited one of the most talented teams in the league. A team only two years removed from winning the super bowl. The reason the Steelers went 8-8 in 2006…BEN ROTHLISBERGER!!! Let me break it down for you DidusayJenn since you’re clearly not intelligent enough to figure it out for yourself, you’d rather keep repeating all the horse sh*t these other mindless “steeler fans” on these sites like to spew cause they think the Rooney’s can do no wrong including the hiring of Tomlin.

          2004 – 15-1
          2005 – 11-5 WON THE SUPER BOWL
          2006 – 8-8

          What’s the difference between 2005 and 2006 for Ben hmmm…maybe a near fatal motorcycle accident 2 months before the season, an emergency appendectomy 3 days before their first game and…TWO CONCUSSIONS DURING THE SEASON!!! And lastly Cowher’s biggest fallacy throughout his career was not having a franchise caliber quarterback. I’d love to know how Tomlin’s record would differ thus far if he had Mike Tomczak or Kordell Stewart the last 6 years.

          • DidusayJenn

            Seriously dude, let’s keep things civil, there’s no need to be nasty. You have a different opinion than I do, hopefully you can soon find some enjoyment out of watching Steelers football and not be so angry.

          • Jay

            So they DIDN’T win the Super Bowl 2 years prior? They WEREN’T riding a 21 game regular season win streak prior to the Halloween game against New England that year? They DIDN’T have a combined record of 26-6 in that time span?? I’d have to say you need some talent on a team to accomplish things like this. Where exactly is this lack of talent you allude to? Please enlighten me.

          • DidusayJenn

            Hey there, I’m not going to answer your three riddles to get across your bridge so go troll somewhere else to pick a fight buddy :-)

          • Jay

            Trust me despite my disdain for this fan base over the last 6 years I’ve been a die hard fan since the blonde bomber. I’m not goin anywhere. Great article Scott.

          • Tom McConnell

            The blond bomber. Wow. What a mediocre QB. Let’s talk about the great Bradshaw. Lifetime 54% completion. Do you understand what made him “great”? The 70′s Steeler’s had the best O-line of all time. They gave him an average of 7 seconds in the pocket. Ask any QB what they could do with 7 seconds and Swan & Stallworth to throw to. There were at least 6 QB’s of that time period that played better at the position. The difference being the O-line.

          • Jay

            Yea Tom Bradshaw sucked that’s why he won 4 Super Bowls.

          • Tom McConnell

            You really have no clue. He won 4 super bowls because of his surrounding cast. How many hall of famers and how many others nominated? Best & most feared defense ever. Several rule changes occured because of that team and none due to Bradshaw.
            Bradshaw could not have survived behind the O-line that Kordel or Ben have had. He needed the 7 seconds that Webster & company gave him. If he had the 3.5 that Ben gets he would have been a broken in his first couple years. If you have any kind of memory, maybe you can remember the acrobatics done by the Steelers receivers because he wasn’t very accurate. The only real tool he had was heart. He just reaped the rewards of being on that team. Again what does a 54% completion rate give you in Kordel’s or Ben’s era? Sitting at home on a couch.

          • Tom McConnell

            Jay just thinks that if he yells it makes him right. You see Jay, everything you said can be said about Noll’s players going to Cowher. Except for Ben’s concussion. There was other injuries that year that kept that team from being better than 8-8. It’s not just the franchise QB.
            The bottom line, back when Kordel was quarterbacking the team we had an O-line that was decimated like last year. Similar year end result. Two times Kordel had a solid O-line and he took them to the championship game. There were other pieces missing.

          • Jay

            HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA that’s hilarious Tom. Yea Cowher was handed a real gem of a team. Is that why they made the playoffs only once in the last 7 years before Cowher took over and the last 10 win season they posted was 1983?? I also find it funny how you single out only Ben’s consussions. I guess you don’t think his motorcycle accident or emergency appendectomy had effect on him cause you know players play through things like that ALL THE TIME right!! BTW if you’re trying to put Kordell in the same category as Bradshaw and Big Ben then you’re a total idiot.

          • Tom McConnell

            Of the players that were handed over to Cowher how many were actually on that first super bowl team? I only mentioned the concussion because you did and the concussion that came from the motorcycle accident. By the way you arm chair QB, how many records did Bradshaw still own after Kordel? Not many. I’ve been following this team since the late 50′s and I know their record. I also know that the team I mention was being well built and solid pieces were in place. Cowher did inherit plenty.

            By no means am I saying that Kordel is as good as Ben, but I am saying that Kordel behind the O-line &
            having Swan, Stallworth, Cunningham, Harris and Blier. Well Jay, there would be no contest. Bradshaw would have been sitting the bench. If you even partly understand the position, you would understand that Sipes, Pastorini, Anderson & Stabler behind the same line we may have won 6 back then. Bradshaw just reaped the benefits of being on the same team as the truely great.

          • Jay

            Q: Of the players that were handed over to Cowher how many were actually on that first super bowl team?

            A: 1995 vs cowboys
            virtually same roster but if the pieces were all in place then why wasn’t Noll able to do anything with that same team over the span of 11 years prior? You’re not saying Noll couldn’t coach are you Tom? I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and just go with the last 4 years before Cowher took over. Overall record was 30-34, made the playoffs once and 9-7 was the best record posted.

            Q: By the way you arm chair QB, how many records did Bradshaw still own after Kordel?

            A: Arm chair QB says: All of them cause Kordell never broke any records.

            Your logic is so flawed. If Kordell was so good then why in the two years you say he had good lines and led them to AFC championships did he throw 6 interceptions and lose both of them? I’ll answer it for you, because he SUCKED under pressure. Unlike Bradshaw whom may have been erratic at times NEVER LOST A SUPER BOWL and was the MVP (XIII, XIV) of two out of the 4 so say what you want about him Tom but riddle me this arm chair knucklehead how many other QB’s in NFL history also have 4 Super Bowl wins?? Oh that’s right I forgot about Montana, you must think he sucks too hah Tom?

            I’m not sure how this argument was turned into a QB debate but the premise of the article is Tomlin vs Cowher. If you have nothing to add about that Tom then our discussion is over.

      • Kimmy

        I didn’t say that you didn’t like Tomlin, I just used your words as saying that you didn’t think he was the guy going into these posts. You’re still just assuming you know how the locker rooms are for each coach based on the few players. We never knew as much as we know now about the daily lives, opinions, and complaints of the players as we do now so there’s no telling what went on back just 7 years ago. I’m not ready to hit the panic button and say the team is in a decline. We just had a very good draft and are getting some great news on players coming back from injuries. I think the arrow is still pointed up. I think that all the nonsense of players calling each other out and whatnot is more indicative of an 8-8 team with much greater expectations than it is of a coach who’s lost his grip on the team. All I’m saying is that you can predict all you want that none of the bad things that have happened to the Steelers would have happened under Cowher but there are no real facts to back that opinion up. Love the writing and the passion though buddy! Keep up the good work!

  • Robert Knestrick

    You have some good points specially about the perception that Tomlin allowed ridiculously selfish players to continue playing as if there actions were tolerable. Not sure totally if it’s him or the proliferation of these types of players in recent years, but I can’t see Cower or a hundred other good coaches putting up with that bullshit. As an outsider I can see the changes
    as well but I really can not pinpoint who’s the dumb ass running things
    now. In the past it seemed as though the coach was the face of all that
    happened with the Steelers now I see too much of the owner and GM
    stepping into the lime light. Either Tomlin does not have what it takes
    or the other two will not allow it. Either way it’s a major problem.
    They do say, specially in Pittsburgh, that everything starts at the top
    (the owners) and there has also been a change there as well in recent
    years with Art taking on the leadership rule and maybe that is where we
    are seeing the changes from either directly or indirectly.

  • [email protected]

    As the reader that pointed out the 5 losses/15 points, hard facts, let me point out tha well, you have a point….. Last years team did NOT have he passion of past/championship teams. However, can’t throw out the baby with the bath!! Tomlin deserves a chance, no has EARNED the chance, to straighten this out; one more year then examination time.

    • scott sinclair

      I think mostly everyone who has responded has made great point and the point you mention is fine. But they lost 5 games to teams with losing records and barely beat 2-14 K.C. Now as you said it may be a lack of passion and let’s face it Wallace gave us no effort last year and Mendenhall was garbage, Woodley was out of shape, etc. But something to me is very wrong with this team right now and I have no real sense of what Tomlin’s thinking. There just seems to be a lack of fire including the coach whom the fire needs to stem from. I like Tomlin I think he took ‘his’ first team to the Superbowl three years ago so kudos to him. But I don’t think his personality is reflected in the team nor city like it was with Noll and Cowher. Pittsburgh is still the same blue collar, lunch pail city. I don’t think Tomlin is.

      • [email protected]

        Hey Scott, I figure our viewpoints are ‘six of one, half a dozen of another’ (especially re the lack of passion – I was at the San Diego game and Heinz felt like a tomb!!). Where we differ is remedy only – and another contributor made a great point when they said that we have struggled against poor teams for years now! No need to panic and jump on the coaching carousel – that poise when faced with an off year is what separates us from the cellar dwellers of the world….

  • Carl Eagan

    Since 2006 this team has been consistent at one thing and that is playing down to their opponent. The discipline eroded little by little so the locker room now resembles a street corner in the hood. Even mediocre players and coaches have jumped ship to get to better run organizations. Yes at one time the Steeler’s were one of the best run organizations but that sadly is in the past. Now there is a coach that isn’t even involved enough to keep track of time-outs or how much time there is on the clock. A coach whose ego is so big he thinks he is qualified to meddle in the defense designed by the best defensive coordinator in the game and the results were predictable the defense collapsed and the Steeler’s lost. For those of you who think Tomlin is a great coach lets all encourage him to go to Cleveland, Dallas,Oakland or KC and see what he does. I’d rather watch him destroy one of those teams instead of the Steeler’s who I’ve been a fan of since 65.

  • Carl Eagan

    Fact is and it is unfortunate the Rooney’s lack the integrity to admit they made a mistake hiring Tomlin. The bright side is that with Tomlin the Steeler’s are guaranteed high first round draft picks.

  • JWoo

    Quality article (series) here, Scott – well done! Throwing my own 2cents worth in here (which is worth less than that), it is a difficult compare as pointed out by the fact it really is a different brand of football in the NFL now (it’s getting closer to Arena Football imo – i know I’m old, and I too love high-octane offenses but the current state of the league, a throw every down and absolutely positively don’t hit anyone on D else you might hurt them?… I’d rather see a 13-10 Defensive can’t pick up a 1st down bloody slugfest any day than a 32-28 offensive track meet/shootout, but that has nothing to do with what I’m supposed to be talking about here…). Cutting to the skinny: firstly, I’m a big Mike Tomlin fan. That being said, however, imo it’s time for Mike’s “the Standard is the Standard” to apply directly to himself and his entire Coaching Staff. There are multiple shifts: in the NFL, in our organization, in our player personnel, etc. that attribute to some of what we’ve seen the past few seasons, but as with any business, ultimate responsibility with the end product on the field starts at the top, with Tomlin. That’s not a knock on Mike, or a call to compare him to Cowher; it’s simply Mike’s job, period. He appropriately took full responsibility for an 8-8 finish (and like other posters here I’m not ready to de-commit on Mike just from one “average” season, so many factors there that could have just as easily been a 12-4 team), but even as a Tomlin supporter, I will really be holding him accountable for this year’s end product: we’ve done a decent job adding younger talent to replace veteran losses, we’ve gotten rid of some selfish attitudes, we have imo a really solid Coaching Staff (LeBeau, Haley, Lake, Butler, Wilson, Bicknell, etc.). This team better all be on the same page in 2013 and in Mike’s own words ready “to unleash Hell”, playing Steeler football (including closing out games to sub .500 teams – I can make some decent arguments for those losses actually, but at the end of the day? Winners close out EVERY game, regardless). I literally worshiped Bill Cow’r, but still have a hard time dealing with his team’s 4 goose eggs at HOME in AFC Championship games. Makes me sick on my stomach, still to this day… If Tomlin did that, we’d be burning Heinz Field to the ground. Tomlin has had an incredible start to his career, it really is amazing what he accomplished his first 4 seasons at the helm (and I personally do not subscribe that he did it entirely with Bill’s Players), but he is at a critical juncture as Head Coach in Pittsburgh. Mike needs to put his own, definitive Leadership Stamp on his Football team, and lead us to Lombardi #7 (no, I’m not saying the Man has to Win a SB or else, but if that’s not your goal in this League there’s a team in Calgary looking for a Coach).

    Cowher and Tomlin are two entirely different Men, in an entirely different age, but we have a roster that not only can win football games but should be feared as the Top Dog, Official Bully of the AFC North, Playoff-bound with Super Bowl potential written all over us. The Coaches have changed, the Game has changed, but the results need to be, and stay, relatively the same.

  • Pete Peterson

    One 8-8 season and everyone wants to dump the coach! SMH! Kimmy is right you can’t compare coaches from different eras because the NFL changes YEARLY! You can’t even compare Tomlin 2007 to Tomlin 2012. Players change, assistant coaches change but unlike the other teams the Rooney’s don’t make knee jerk reactions when it comes to coaches, unlike the “fans” they have patience in their head coaches. 8-8 isn’t nearly as bad as some of the records of the past coaches. As for that “what starts in the locker room, stays in the locker room” that era is over as well. Everyone has an opinion and are encouraged to air it thru social media and blogs like this so that old adage no longer is valid in any sport including college. Who cares if a player calls out what happens in the locker room, if a player isn’t doing his all for the team they need to be called out! 8-8 is not the end of the world people, even our 6 time Champion Stillers aren’t gonna win every year, that’s reality people. Belicheat didn’t go to the playoffs between SBs once, the Bungles can’t be that terrible forever (or could they) the NFL is full of ebb and flows, just because the boat rocks a little doesn’t mean the ship is going down. Be a Stiller fan and let the freakin season start before you get ready to fire the Coach or decide he all of a sudden isn’t the coach the Stillers need!

  • sean mcmartin

    Finally someone else who shares my views on Tomlin. He is not a motivator of men like Cowher. Put him on the PR team. The Steelers need a fiery head coach who challenges the players to play above their ability. Cowher was known for getting the most out of players. he brought a “hit em in the mouth defense and stocked the team with aggressive and hungry LB’s and D-linemen.
    Tomlin brought one Timmons. Cowher brought ray seals , Kevin greene, farrior, porter, lloyd, kirkland, gildon, buckner, kiesel,Smith, Hampton guys who could hit and had a swarming blittzburgh attitude. Cowher was a LB in the NFL and knew what it took to be a good one. Tomlin has only read about what it takes.
    Tomlin will prove in the next couple of rough seasons that he is not the guy. Cowher’s team is just about done.
    Tomlin is the george sieffert, bill callahan of the NFL. took a great team and turned it into what will be on the field this year. feel bad for Ben. he could win with the right coaching and team surrounding him.