Why won't Steelers extend Tomlin?
By Bob Smizik | Thursday, 12:15 a.m.
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Are the Steelers unhappy with the job performance of Super Bowl-winning coach Mike Tomlin?
Strange as that might seen, it appears to be the case.
Historically, the Steelers have extended their coach when there were two years remaining on his contract. That is where Tomlin stands with his original contract with the Steelers. Yet there is little or no movement towards extending Tomlin, whose team failed to make the playoffs last season after winning the Super Bowl the previous year.
In his weekly chat at post-gazette.com Tuesday, Ed Bouchette shed some light on what was going on.
When Bouchette was asked if the team president Art Rooney was waiting to see how the upcoming season goes, Bouchette answered, ``There is no talk of any talks going on and the longer it lingers, the less likely it wMike Tomlinill get done.’’
A subsequent questioner mentioned the lack of negotiations and asked, `` Most people think that is because the Steelers are resistant to extending the deal, however, could it be that Tomlin's salary demands are too high?’’
Bouchette’s response was revealing. ``I don’t think the conversation has gotten anywhere near salary.’’
And, finally, this question: ``Which is more likely the CBA getting extended or Tomlin getting a new deal?’’
To which, Bouchette answered, ``I think we'll hit 2011 before either happens.’’
I’m not suggesting Bouchette as omnipotent in these matters, but his handle among the media is as good as any and better than almost, if not, all.
So what’s the problem? Why have the Steelers resisted extending a coach, who, if he were on the open market, would have suitors galore?
A hint of what the problem is might have come out when Santonio Holmes was traded. In some of the reporting of that trade, it was revealed that Holmes had been late for team meetings. Note the plural. How is it that a player is late for more than one meeting? Who does Holmes think he is? Plaxico Burress?
I was shocked when I read that Holmes had been tardy. I know it happens, but to happen multiple times on the Steelers -- where the coach knows ownership always has his back -- could be considered the sign of a team with discipline that is too lax.
I further learned, and this is hard to believe but it comes from a good source, that players were showing up late for flights. And Tomlin was accommodating their tardiness by holding the plane.
If that’s the kind of ship Tomlin is running, it’s perfectly understandable Rooney is hesitant to extend his contract.
In the aftermath of the recent disappointing season, where the Steelers too often relied on the passing of Ben Roethlisberger, Rooney let it be known he wanted to see a more efficient running game next season.
Maybe that’s not the only thing Rooney wants to see next season. Maybe he wants to see a coach more firmly in control of his team. That could have been, in part, the reason for trading Holmes. If Holmes were a flagrant rule-breaker, Rooney assisted Tomlin in re-establishing discipline by removing the problem from the team.
The last thing the Steelers want to do is not rehire Tomlin. No team in sports understand the importance of continuity. The Steelers, in fact, has shown the sporting world the importance of continuity. Tomlin has the makings of an excellent coach and the Steelers would love to have him here for decades.
But not if he can’t establish discipline on his own team.