I try to balance personal feelings and unbias logic in my articles. But I’m honestly not sure what direction this article is headed in.
This video greatly angered me for several reasons. Everybody in this field is going to have some flaming hot takes every now and then that you have to stand by no matter the criticism. I’ve had some myself:
(I still stand by this, but that’s not what the article is about)
Certain criticisms of Mike Tomlin are completely fair. He’s not without flaws. Yes, his teams have underperformed against sub .500 teams since 2009. The Steelers have been chasing 3-6 seeds the last few years because the games they should be winning against bad teams, they don’t.
Last night on twitter, I read a tweet last night where someone compared Tomlin to Barry Switzer, the coach of the Dallas Cowboys from 1994-1997. Switzer was the replacement to Super Bowl winning coach Jimmy Johnson. There is still a section of people who think Mike Tomlin only won because of Bill Cowher’s players. 101 wins in 10 seasons and fastest in team history to 100 wins was not because of Cowher. Yes Tomlin inherited some talented defensive players. Guys like James Farrior, Casey Hampton, Brett Keisel, Larry Foote, Troy Polamalu, Ryan Clark and others. But how many times in NFL history have coaches inherited talented players and little to jack shit with them. Rex Ryan inherited a Bills defense that had 54 sacks in 2014. Guess what he did with that same personnel the next season? 21 sacks.
As complicated as football can be, it’s also really simple.
It’s easy to say the Steelers are underachievers because they have arguably 4 of the best players at their positions on offense.And if they aren’t best, they are one of the top players at their position. But for various reasons over the years, shit has happened. The Steelers started 2013 0-4 but were able to rebound and win 8 of their last 12. They missed the playoffs thanks to a missed field goal from Kansas City. The 2014 Steelers had an offense firing on all cylinders but an injury to All-Pro RB Le’Veon Bell had a major impact on the team and in the wildcard playoff game against the Ravens, the Steelers dynamic offense suddenly became easier to defend when all you had to worry about was Ben Tate and Dri Archer coming out of the backfield. 2015 was another injury riddled season and the Steelers were a fumble (from the 3rd string RB cause the top two guys were injured) away from advancing to the Wild Card.
It’s taking some years of drafting, but the Steelers are headed in the right direction in terms of personnel. Defensively, they are still missing maybe 1 or 2 guys but the young players they have drafted over the last few years are beginning to develop.
Many of Cowher’s defensive guys eventually got old and their performance fell off. One by one, guys retired or moved on to other teams. The team elected to now build the team around quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and give him pieces on offense. It’s hard to win without balance on both sides of the ball, but not every team is going to be the 2015 Denver Broncos. It’s hard to win with all defense and little to no offense. Four offensive linemen (Pouncey, Gilbert, DeCastro, Adams) were drafted with the team’s top two picks over the course of the 2010, 2011, and 2012 drafts (Kelvin Beachum was drafted in the seventh round of the 2012 draft). Offensive guys such as Antonio Brown (2010) and Le’Veon Bell (2013) were also brought in to help this offense.
Despite many of the studs that have been hit on by the Steelers in the drafts, guys like Ziggy Hood (2009) and Jarvis Jones (2013) were drafted for a purpose and they simply haven’t panned out. That sets your time table back when you lack depth on the defensive line. It sets your defense back when you don’t have that pass rushing threat that any great defense needs. And that’s something that has to be dealt with.But despite these struggles, the Steelers are still winning on average about 10 games a season under Tomlin.
It wouldn’t be right on my end if I neglected to mention the fact that since losing the Super Bowl to the Packers a few seasons ago, the Steelers have been to the playoffs on 3 different occasions and have just 1 win to show for it. That isn’t acceptable at all. And if that’s why you feel Tomlin isn’t a great coach, so be it.
If you feel Tomlin isn’t a great coach and Cowher is a great coach because he never went more than 4 seasons without multiple playoff victories, so be it.
As great of a coach as Bill Cowher was, he still had his flaws. But critics often rewrite history so it fits their argument at that point in time.
I’m just still baffled at all the bullshit that came spewing out of Terry Bradshaw’s mouth about Mike Tomlin. It just sounded stupid man. It’s hard to win in the NFL. If Mike Tomlin is a great cheerleader, what in the hell is Gus Bradley? The Jerry Rice of cheerleading head coaches? I wonder what Tomlin did to piss Bradshaw off. I would say the same for Jason Whitlock but we know he’ll just say anything. Hell, Fox Sports will say anything to get views and clicks. I think what had me ticked off the most was that the only reason I came across this video was because Terry Bradshaw also said the Packers should keep Mike McCarthy over Aaron Rodgers.