Publish Date: 11/7/2009

Steelers’ Tomlin a good role model for McDaniels

By Brian Howell
© 2009 Longmont Times-Call

Some coaches patrol the sidelines for years, or even decades, before finally reaching the pinnacle.

Then there’s Mike Tomlin. The 37-year-old head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers is in his third season with one of the NFL’s most storied franchises, and he’s already got a Super Bowl ring.

Last season, Tomlin became the youngest head coach to ever coach in and win a Super Bowl.

“He is a great role model for all coaches in this league, young coaches (and) older coaches alike,” said Denver Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels. “He’s very, very intelligent (and) has a great background history. He learned from a bunch of really great men in this league and does a great job of teaching (and) motivating his players (and) his team.”

In recent years, the older generation of coaches has given way to the youth movement. Tomlin, Eric Mangini, Lane Kiffin, Raheem Morris and McDaniels are among the 30-something coaches to be hired in the NFL since 2006.

The success Tomlin has had serves as a good model for McDaniels, 33, who is in his first year as a head coach.

“His team is always well prepared,” McDaniels said. “His team is always going to play with great emotion and energy. You never see them play with a lack of effort, and I think that is a testament to what he does on a weekly basis or a daily basis with his football team. He is a positive influence on a lot of people.”

Seeing Tomlin win a Super Bowl at a young age didn’t give McDaniels any more confidence as he began his own coaching career, but he said, “(Tomlin) is certainly a guy that most of us would emulate, winning a Super Bowl in his second year and being as successful as he has been so far in his head coaching career.”

So far, one similarity between Tomlin and McDaniels is that both of their teams have bought into their programs.

“I really wasn’t concerned about that element of it, as I’m sure coach McDaniels wasn’t concerned about it,” Tomlin said. “I think the relationship between players and coaches is something that’s understood in this game and in this business at this level. Those (players) know that from a coach’s standpoint, we desire to put you in the best position to excel and I think they respect that element of it. I think more is made out of some of those transitions than actually meets the eye.”

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who began his career playing for a veteran coach (Bill Cowher), agreed, saying the Steelers never doubted Tomlin’s ability.

“He really is (a players’ coach) because he wants to do what’s best for us without giving in too much,” Roethlisberger said of Tomlin. “I think that’s good because we respect him and his decisions and the things he says to us.”

Brian Howell can be reached at [email=""][/email].