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hawaiiansteel
02-20-2012, 01:30 AM
This Shouldn't be Shocking News, but Mike Tomlin is a Great Coach

by Anthony Defeo on Feb 19, 2012

http://cdn0.sbnation.com/entry_photo_images/3107847/65016_Steelers_Tomlin_Football.jpg

Shortly after the new year, I had a back and forth email session with someone debating the abilities of Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin. It was a respectful debate, but the person I was talking with was certainly on the "anti-Tomlin" side of the issue.

This was right in the middle of the "should he play or shouldn't he play" Ben Roethlisberger high-ankle sprain saga; a saga that proved to be a no-win situation for Tomlin.

During the discussion, in-addition to disagreeing with how Tomlin handled Ben's ankle issue, this person said that he didn't think Tomlin was a great leader, never had his team ready to play an entire 60-minute game, and only really had success because he inherited Bill Cowher's players.

This kind of criticism is nothing new for coaches--it goes with the territory--and Tomlin certainly isn't the first coach to get criticized and have his abilities questioned. It happens to the best of them.

In-fact, the legendary Bill Cowher used to hear similar criticisms all the time. His teams were never ready to play (only after a loss, of course), he was too much of a player's coach, he was way too conservative, and, of course, the old stand-by--he always got out-coached in the big games (again, only following a loss).

By the late-90's, just when the Steelers six-year playoff run came to an end (conveniently enough), there was talk that maybe the Rooneys should part ways with Cowher and bring in a new guy who would take the Steelers to the next level.

The Rooneys did the opposite, however. They extended Cowher's contract, and this proved to be a sound move as The Chin was able to survive the lean years and rebuild the team back into a Super Bowl contender by 2001. In 2005, Pittsburgh finally won the "one for the thumb," and Cowher retired as coach just a year later. Today, if you ask any Steelers fan, Bill Cowher was the most perfect coach who ever lived.

I'm not trying to down-play what Bill Cowher did. He had an amazing career and helped to revitalize Steeler Nation after the lean years of the 80's. His 15-year career speaks for itself: 149 regular season victories, 10 trips to the playoffs, two Super Bowl appearances, and a Super Bowl Championship.

What I am saying is Mike Tomlin is putting together a pretty decent career in his own right. Is he perfect? No, but he's already done so much before the age of 40.

In Tomlin's five years as Steelers head coach, he's averaged 11 wins a year, taken his team to the playoffs four times, been to two Super Bowls, and already has a Super Bowl ring.

I believe Mike Tomlin is a great leader. Is he the kind of coach who wears his emotions on his sleeve? No, but Tomlin convinced me of his extraordinary leadership skills back in 2010. With everything the team faced that year, from Big Ben's suspension to "fine-gate", the wheels could have easily fallen off the wagon. The Steelers had just missed the playoffs the year before, and I don't think too many people would have been surprised if they struggled to finish at .500. Yet, there they were, despite so many obstacles throughout the year, playing in Super Bowl XLV and coming within one drive of winning their seventh title.

I'd say that's an example of a pretty good leader.

As for Tomlin having his team ready to play for 60 minutes. Well, it's always easy to say that a team wasn't ready to play after a loss, but I recall Super Bowl XLIII being pulled out in the 60th and final minute. I don't think any Steelers fan will forget those 60 minutes. I'd say a record of 55-25 is a pretty good indication that Mike Tomlin knows how to get his troops ready to play some football on a consistent basis.

And, finally, there is that sentiment held by a lot of Steelers fans that Tomlin has been winning with Cowher's players. This is another no-win situation for any coach who takes over a successful franchise. If he succeeds, he only did it because he inherited great talent. If he loses, however, people wonder why he couldn't win with such a loaded roster.

There is no doubt that Tomlin inherited a very talented team from Cowher, but you can say the same thing about Cowher when he took over for Chuck Noll in 1992.

Even though the Emperor didn't have a great record with first round draft choices in his final few years as coach, he still left Cowher with more than enough talent to build from. Neil O'Donnell, Greg Lloyd, Dermontti Dawson, John Jackson, Rod Woodson, Carnell Lake and Ernie Mills were all players that were added to the team in Noll's last few years as coach, and they became the core of Cowher's playoff teams from the 90's.

The 2012 season has already been a pretty bumpy ride for the Steelers, and with the salary cap issue still unresolved and free agency looming, the roads could become even harder to navigate. But in Mike Tomlin, the Steelers have a pretty good driver behind the wheel.

http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/20 ... reat-coach (http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2012/2/19/2810099/this-shouldnt-be-shocking-news-but-mike-tomlin-is-a-great-coach)

flippy
02-20-2012, 09:16 AM
Tomlin's done some good and some bad so far.

I like the calm demeanor. The relationship he has with the players/coaches. The level of expectation and preparation of the backups. He seems to have a knack for hiring good coaches. And he also seems to be adding value to our drafting - we've seen some hidden gem WRs that he seems to have a track record with now and we'll likely see more value if some of the young DBs like Brown and Allen develop who haven't been high picks. And he's seemed to bring in some of the right FAs.

His in game time management. Uses of challenges. Some in game decisions can improve. And occassionally the team doesn't play to the level it's capable of - think of the unleash hell run.

He's still young and we'll see how his career plays out. But overall, there's a lot more positives and indications that he's a great coach. But he still has a lot of work in front of him. And we need to improve as a team on a lot of dimensions. He's done some great work with some superstar talent and some big holes in the roster.

The biggest thing going forward imho is can he fill the roster with a better team? Can we draft right from here on out?

We need to get better results out of the Timmons, Ziggys, Heywards, Mendys of the world. A concern is we haven't found a superstar recently with our first round draft picks like we had been during Cowher's tenure when we got Troy, Ben, Heath, Casey, etc. in our 1st round picks.

And we could use a few more superstar players to carry this bunch.

Oviedo
02-20-2012, 10:21 AM
Tomlin has been a breath of fresh air from the increasingly overly egotistical Cowher. Towrds the end of Cowher's tenure it became more and more about him and his legacy. That is bad whenever that happens.

I like Tomlin's "we" approach and I think he will be a longtime successful coach for us.

squidkid
02-20-2012, 04:20 PM
I think Tomlin is good, but not great. Any decent coach would have the same success as Tomlin has had here based on player quality and a great front office and owner. I really dont think anybody mentions Tomlin's name as being great if he had been the head coach of the Browns, Seahawks, Bucs. etc etc. the last few years.

skyhawk
02-20-2012, 05:26 PM
I thought Cowher inherited a pretty crappy team in 1992. He did develop some good players though, and was lucky to have Woodson.

Mister Pittsburgh
02-20-2012, 07:01 PM
Nobody really can say what type of coach Tomlin is. Is he a great head coach when he comes in and inherits a team a season removed from a Superbowl, plus some key components of the coaching staff, along with the support structure of the Rooneys & Colbert? Would we be just as successful had Whiz been given the nod?

One negative that sticks out to me is it seems that we have a very hard time making the proper adjustments when things aren't working or the opponent adjusts. Not sure if it is the coordinators failing to adjust, or Tomlin failing to override them.

In the end it's tough to complain.

flippy
02-20-2012, 07:20 PM
I thought Cowher inherited a pretty crappy team in 1992. He did develop some good players though, and was lucky to have Woodson.

Cowher already had some of his best players in Woodson, Dirt, Lake, and Lloyd.

Made it easy to run the ball and play defense for his tenure. And he had NOD that got him to his first SuperBowl.

And Rooney made him draft Ben who ultimately won him his SuperBowl.

All coaches need great players. Cowher got most of his key ones from Noll. And then he handed off a pretty good team to Tomlin.

And one day Tomlin will probably hand off a good team to another coach. Just the way it works around here.

skyhawk
02-20-2012, 07:41 PM
I thought Cowher inherited a pretty crappy team in 1992. He did develop some good players though, and was lucky to have Woodson.

Cowher already had some of his best players in Woodson, Dirt, Lake, and Lloyd.

Made it easy to run the ball and play defense for his tenure. And he had NOD that got him to his first SuperBowl.

And Rooney made him draft Ben who ultimately won him his SuperBowl.

All coaches need great players. Cowher got most of his key ones from Noll. And then he handed off a pretty good team to Tomlin.

And one day Tomlin will probably hand off a good team to another coach. Just the way it works around here.

I don't think Noll would have won a SB with that team he left Cowher. Cowher's motivational abilties as well as his organizational abilities sparked the franchise to a winning level. Something Noll hadn't done since the late 70's. Remember the pitiful 80's except for a nice run to the playoffs in 89 with Merril Hoge and Brister.

pfelix73
02-21-2012, 10:18 AM
It's wayyyyyy too early to label him a great coach. Let's see how the next 3-5 years go as we start to lose good players and have to replace them via FA or the draft...

:tt1

RuthlessBurgher
02-21-2012, 11:17 AM
Go around the league and try to name coaches that are better than Tomlin...

Oviedo
02-21-2012, 12:53 PM
I thought Cowher inherited a pretty crappy team in 1992. He did develop some good players though, and was lucky to have Woodson.


I'm pretty certain that Cowher made it to his first Super Bowl with Noll's players. :stirpot

He pretty well sucked after that Super Bowl trip with "his players." Lots of reason to seriously question who he drafted.

DBR96A
02-21-2012, 01:27 PM
I thought Cowher inherited a pretty crappy team in 1992. He did develop some good players though, and was lucky to have Woodson.


I'm pretty certain that Cowher made it to his first Super Bowl with Noll's players. :stirpot

He pretty well sucked after that Super Bowl trip with "his players." Lots of reason to seriously question who he drafted.
Yeah, the 1996 and 1997 drafts were terrible, and set the team back a few years.

phillyesq
02-21-2012, 01:32 PM
I thought Cowher inherited a pretty crappy team in 1992. He did develop some good players though, and was lucky to have Woodson.


I'm pretty certain that Cowher made it to his first Super Bowl with Noll's players. :stirpot

He pretty well sucked after that Super Bowl trip with "his players." Lots of reason to seriously question who he drafted.
Yeah, the 1996 and 1997 drafts were terrible, and set the team back a few years.

Jamain Stephens was a bust and a half, but the 1996 draft yielded Jon Whitman, Earl Holmes and Orpheus Roye. And a trade for Jerome Bettis.

1997 - that was bad. Chad Scott was generally a disappointment, and the best player taken in that draft was Vrabel, whose best years were spent in another uniform.

flippy
02-21-2012, 01:45 PM
Go around the league and try to name coaches that are better than Tomlin...

It's nearly impossible to separate coaches from QBs.

Would Noll be great without Terry?

Would Cowher/Tomlin be considered great without Ben?

Would Bellicheat be good without Brady? I mean we know how bad he sucked on Cleveland only to be propelled to genius status in NE.

Would guys like Andy Reid or Jeff Fisher or John Fox be considered the greatest ever if they only had the greatest QB?

I think there's a lot of really good coaches out there that could do just as well as any other in the right situation. There's a lot of luck in the equation. Right place / right time sorta stuff.

steelblood
02-21-2012, 02:59 PM
I think Tomlin is good, but not great. Any decent coach would have the same success as Tomlin has had here based on player quality and a great front office and owner. I really dont think anybody mentions Tomlin's name as being great if he had been the head coach of the Browns, Seahawks, Bucs. etc etc. the last few years.

Yeah, I'm not sure that holds water. Bellicheck wasn't successful in Cleveland. Sometimes the organization and/or FO prevents you from being successful.

feltdizz
02-21-2012, 03:57 PM
I think Tomlin is good, but not great. Any decent coach would have the same success as Tomlin has had here based on player quality and a great front office and owner. I really dont think anybody mentions Tomlin's name as being great if he had been the head coach of the Browns, Seahawks, Bucs. etc etc. the last few years.

wouldn't know until he is in that situation... a great coach doesn't take the Bucs or the Browns to the SB.. a great coach gets them to the playoffs consistently or has them in the hunt for the playoffs consistently..

In Pittsburgh it's SB's and Tomlin has been to 2 in a 3 year span... IMO that's great coaching.

Plenty of coaches fell into great coaching gigs. Caldwell went to a SB and was 1-15 last year... Gruden won a SB and then poof.. gone.

Tomlin has won a SB, been to another and has his team in the hunt every year.... that's very hard to do.

hawaiiansteel
02-21-2012, 04:14 PM
I think Tomlin is good, but not great.


Tomlin has won a SB, been to another and has his team in the hunt every year.... that's very hard to do.


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