Man, someone’s gonna eat a lot of crow in this rant — namely ME.
People who have followed this blog or listened to my podcast knows how critical I have been of Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin. I have criticized his lack of in-game adjustments. I thought that he didn’t do a good job of getting his team prepared against less talented teams in the past.
I also have never been fond of his lack of discipline that has played out over the last few seasons, namely this past season and offseason. I agreed with former Steelers great Terry Bradshaw when he called Tomlin a glorified cheerleader.
In short, this lifelong Steelers fan thought that Tomlin underachieved for most of his tenure in Pittsburgh.
This season, tho? Consider that narrative shot the fuck down.
The job Tomlin has done with this team has been borderline miraculous.
Somehow he has led this Steelers team who lost its franchise QB to a season-ending injury, James Conner and Juju Smith-Schuester multiple games to injuries, and is being led by a practice squad QB who was known for being a duck-calling champion to a 7-5 record. SEVEN WINS!
He’s been doing this by riding the defense, stellar special teams, and a remedial yet low-risk offense. This has been a complete reverse from the last few seasons, where the offense had been asked to carry the load.
As much as I criticized Tomlin in the past, I never questioned his ability to motivate his team. It’s pretty obvious he has lit a spark into the defense and youngsters on offense.
When Big Ben went down, I was thinking ‘aw hell, we’re gonna have a high draft pick next draft’. I never thought in my wildest dreams that the Steelers will be in playoff contention this late into the season.
There is big possibility that this Pittsburgh team will finish with 10 wins. If that happens, Tomlin should be considered the 2019 NFL Coach of the Year.
And I would be on my third helping of crow in the process…