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Thread: Mike Tomlin: An Apple from the Steeler Tree?

  1. #1
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    Mike Tomlin: An Apple from the Steeler Tree?

    I enjoyed this article and thought it may be new information for some...

    Mike Tomlin Is on WHOSE Coaching Tree….?

    We’ve all heard about “The Bill Walsh” coaching tree more than we would care to recount. To Bill Walsh’s credit, the tree is extensive and its members have been more successful than not. Those are indisputable facts.

    What is disputable is just who belongs on that tree. A search on the key word “Bill Walsh coaching tree” on Google reveals some interesting results.

    Incorrect Consensus on the Internet

    Take Wikipedia, for example. Dennis Green is connected to Walsh with a direct line, which is as it should be since Green coached for him in 1979, and then again in the mid-80’s. Yet another direct line connects Green to Tony Dungy, and Dungy has lines connecting him to Lovie Smith, Rob Marinelli and, of course, Mike Tomlin.

    This tree doesn’t just show up in Wikipedia, but in the San Francisco Chronicle, Findarticles.com, the sports oasis blog, and about a gazillion dozen other sites.

    One can quibble about any number of the names on the list, but two concern us here: Tony Dungy and Mike Tomlin.

    A downside to the internet is that when something gets reproduced repeatedly, people simply accept it at face value as fact. Case in point, the first reference that caught Steel Curtain Rising’s attention (quite a feat, as the site wasn’t even founded yet!) came last year.

    On August 11, 2007 the Washington Post ran an excellent article about Mike Tomlin. Excellent accept for the fact that it said something to the effect that (this is a paraphrase) “If Tomlin belongs on a coaching tree, he belongs on the Bill Walsh Coaching Tree.” At the time, it seemed like this was just one journalist's igonrance, but alas, as we mention above, its become accepted as fact.

    Let’s get this straight. Tony Dungy, by virtue of the fact that he was Denny Green’s defensive coordinator before becoming Tampa’s head coach is supposed to be a “descendent” of Bill Walsh? And therefore because Dungy gave Tomlin his first job in the NFL, he’s Tomlin is therefore also on the Walsh coaching tree?

    19th Century Wisdom from The First Dan Rooney

    An insurance man once tried to list Dan Rooney (father of Art Sr., grandfather of the five Rooney brothers) as Welsh (because he’d been born there) instead of Irish. After listening patiently, Pap Rooney retorted:

    “Look, if you had a cat, and the cat had kittens in an oven, would you call the kittens biscuits?”*

    That settled the issue right there. The Rooneys were Irish.

    The same logic applies here.

    The Chuck Noll Coaching Tree

    If Tony Dungy is part of any coaching "tree" or a prodigy of anyone, then that person is Chuck Noll.

    Tony Dungy was a disciple of Chuck Noll. Dungy played for Noll, and Noll made him a defensive coordinator at age 27. Dungy spent his formative years in Pittsburgh under Noll, before moving onto to work under Marty Schottenhiemer (and Bill Cowher) in Kansas City, and then Denny Green in Minnesota. Dungy regularly credits Noll as his mentor.

    The offenses that Dungy employed in Tampa were a lot closer to the ones that Noll ran in the 70's than to Bill Walsh's "West Coast offense," and his current offensive coordinator in Indy is none other than Tom Moore, who served as Chuck Noll's offensive coordinator for 20 years.

    Tony Dungy has no place on the Bill Walsh coaching tree.

    Mike Tomlin’s case is a little more complex, as he spent more time under John Gruden than anyone else. But Dungy brought him into the NFL, and Tomlin regularly cites Tony Dungy as his formative influence. When the Rooney’s were deciding between Mike Tomlin and Russ Grimm, they called Dungy, and Dungy gave his former pupil a ringing endorsement.

    Tomlin’s own words are more revealing. During the 75th Anniversary Game, one of the commentators remarked that Tomlin had told them (this is a paraphrase) “The longer I am here, the more I see that things are done here the way Tony Dungy used to do them.”

    That should settle it.

    If Mike Tomlin belongs on a coaching tree, he belongs on the Chuck Noll coaching tree, right under Tony Dungy.
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  2. #2

    Re: Mike Tomlin: An Apple from the Steeler Tree?

    Hey, I like this a lot! I think Noll would have dealt with a team distraction just like Tomlin did - eliminate it for now, deal with it when there is time. Santonio f'd up, let his team down, and there is a price to pay.

    The only thing not settled in my mind is what the long-term implications are. Does the FO let him walk? Do the short leash thing? I guess we'll learn soon enough.


    We got our "6-PACK" - time to work on a CASE!

    HERE WE GO STEELERS, HERE WE GO!

  3. #3

    Re: Mike Tomlin: An Apple from the Steeler Tree?

    It is funny as I was reading this, I was thinking ---"No, Dungy coached for Noll first" and then "How cool Tomlin is actually Steeler lineage"---

    Nice read.
    He who forgets, will be destined to remember.

  4. #4
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    Re: Mike Tomlin: An Apple from the Steeler Tree?

    Yes, he is a direct descendant of Steeler royalty! I dont know about anyone else, but this cements my positive opinion of the man. I love his euphamisms...
    "The reality of it is..." and "Our men will go to work..."
    But the number one characteristic about him is his focus and his ability to get the team to unite under this focus. Benching 'SanCannabis' Holmes is a perfect example..."Dont show your face around here until Monday. Ill deal with you then. Right now our men have a game to win."
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    Re: Mike Tomlin: An Apple from the Steeler Tree?

    Not only does Dungy credit his mentor (Noll) with so much of how he's approached his tenure as coach in the NFL, but credits Noll for the style in which he's done it. As an observer, how can you not see Dungy's quiet, reserved persona on the sidelines and not see Noll. I see similar traits displayed by Tomlin. I don't think I've ever put Tomlin even near the Bill Walsh tree... I've always believed that the reason why he got this job was from his mentor and former Steeler disciple, Tony Dungy.

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    Re: Mike Tomlin: An Apple from the Steeler Tree?

    I know this is going to sound unbelievable....

    When I was in middle school, Tony D was playing for the Steelers. He shared my hometown and since he was one of my idols, I looked him up in the phone book and gave him a call. I invited him to my school for an interview and he accepted! So I dressed up in my Steeler garb and did the interview, under camera and everything. He said I asked him some tougher questions than most reporters. After autographs, handshakes, and posing for pictures, I was left with a special memory...never knowing what a legend the man i just met would turn out to be.
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    Hall of Famer AngryAsian's Avatar
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    Re: Mike Tomlin: An Apple from the Steeler Tree?

    Quote Originally Posted by Discipline of Steel
    I know this is going to sound unbelievable....

    When I was in middle school, Tony D was playing for the Steelers. He shared my hometown and since he was one of my idols, I looked him up in the phone book and gave him a call. I invited him to my school for an interview and he accepted! So I dressed up in my Steeler garb and did the interview, under camera and everything. He said I asked him some tougher questions than most reporters. After autographs, handshakes, and posing for pictures, I was left with a special memory...never knowing what a legend the man i just met would turn out to be.
    DOS, that's a really great story. I hope you still have those pics. That's awesome.

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    Re: Mike Tomlin: An Apple from the Steeler Tree?

    Living where I do, I hate the team Dungy coaches more than any other team in the league. I almost get as pumped rooting against the Colts as I do rooting for the Steelers.

    But, I would root for Dungy coached team in a minute if he was somewhere other than Indy (besides any AFC N rival).

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