Tomlin’s Biggest Crime: Team Consistently Plays Down To The Competition
Quick: name the last time the Steelers blew a team out? When was the last time you could relax mid way through the third quarter because you knew they had the game won? Have to think hard about it don’t you? No killer instinct. No ability to put teams away. This may be the biggest and most disturbing Tomlin crime of all. Tomlin teams repeatedly, repeatedly, repeatedly let bad teams hang around often losing to them or the Steelers just hang on by a thread to win. The entire 2009 and 2012 seasons are glaring examples of this.
The Steelers were defending Super Bowl champions in 2009 and in the midst of a 3 game losing streak when Tomlin infamously stated: “We will unleash hell here in December because we have to. We won’t go in a shell. We’ll go into attack mode, because that’s what’s required.” Sounded good right? I was convinced, I was expecting the Steelers to come out focused and laser sharp. The Steelers promptly responded by unleashing two duds: a 4th quarter collapse at home to a terrible Oakland team followed with one of the worst performances in modern Steelers history losing to a terrible Browns team in Cleveland on a Thursday night. The only hell unleashed was on Steelers fans souls watching those debacles.
In 2012 the Steelers lost 4 games to inferior teams they should have easily handled: Cleveland, San Diego, Oakland & Tennessee. They held on by a thread against the lowly Eagles and Chiefs winning on the last plays of the game. Six (6) games last year were decided on the last play of the game—and NFL record. A 7th game was almost decided on the last play when the Bengals kicked the winning field goal at Heinz field last year with 0:04 seconds remaining.
By contrast the Peyton Manning led Broncos (13-3) in 2012 won 9 of their 13 games by double digits! Three other wins were by 8 points and the other by 7. Do the Steelers ever blow any team out? It seems a rarity. During Tomlin’s coaching tenure, it seems like Pittsburgh just lets about every inferior team hang around and often times end up losing because of it. The blame for the consistent lackluster play and the inability to put a team away should be placed solely on the shoulders of head coach Mike Tomlin.
Tomlin Avoids The Ire Of The Pittsburgh Media/Fans Eyes
Tomlin has blown seasons in 2007 (9-3), 2009 (6-2), 2011(12-4) and 2012 (6-3) where for periods noted in parenthesis during those seasons, the Steelers were talked about as being the best team in football. Worst of all was it looked as if they were favored to win the Super Bowl! The Steelers didn’t win a playoff game in any of these 4 seasons and two of them didn’t even make the playoffs because of season ending collapses (2009, 2012). Yet despite 4 goose eggs his 6 seasons, Tomlin goes untouched in the Pittsburgh media and somehow his coordinators: LeBeau, Haley/Arians or any special teams or position coaches are always the ire of the fans and media.
Why not Tomlin? Why does he get a pass? Why is he always safe?
Tomlin: Style Over Substance
Besides his 2 Super Bowl appearances with Cowher’s boys I believe Tomlin gets a pass because Tomlin makes a great impression with the fans, the media and obviously the Rooney’s. He is impressive the way he carries himself. Tomlin comes off as sharp, stern, intelligent, demanding, intense, no nonsense all the while being eloquent. Tomlin also represents himself well to the media in press conferences. He is quick witted and has great comebacks with the media. He is the master of quip’s. “Master Q.” He has got style. Now I know why he wowed the Rooney’s in his interview. In fact I think he is the best in the NFL among all coaches when it comes to talking and the use of his vocabulary.
Tomlin also looks good on the sidelines with his black shades while twirling his headset. He seems to have the pulse on all that is cool. He is on Twitter. He follows his players on Twitter. He also appears to be one of the guys with the chest bumping and fist bumping he does on the sidelines. Too bad all that style charisma and charm can’t translate into substance - the performance of his team.
It Is Time Tomlin Is Put On The Hot Seat
Tomlin stated this after last Sundays game against Tennessee: “It wasn’t Steelers football. We acknowledge that. The standard is the standard and they didn’t play to it and we didn’t coach to it. Need to look at the tape to get a better understanding of how what happened when we took to the grass.” What Tomlin needs to look at is the mirror and Kevin Colbert and the Rooney’s need to start looking at Tomlin. No playoffs this year will produce another goose egg for 5 of Tomlin’s 7 years and the Steelers spiral down well below “The Standard” will continue.
****Because there is so much to write about on the topic of Tomlin’s in game management I did not touch on it in this article because this topic needs a whole article of its own. In the coming weeks I will focus on the terrible in game decisions made by Tomlin that plagued him against the Titans last week, whatever else may happen int he coming weeks and throughout his reign in Pittsburgh.
Monday Night’s Game Prediction vs Bengals:
I was wrong in my Steelers prediction last week thinking/hoping the Steelers would beat Tennessee but I was 11-5 overall in the NicePickCowher.com poll. This week the AFC North squares off against each other. In years past Pittsburgh typically would rebound to beat the Bengals as they used to do coming off of a disastrous and embarrassing performance the week before. I am still clingon on to hope that it happens but I don’t see it. What I do see is me sitting in a silent rage all night as I watch the season already start to slip away as the Steelers go to 0-2.