It has been often said that ‘silence is golden.’ There are numerous other clichés about remaining quiet and letting others do the talking, but I’m starting to think the silence of one Mike Tomlin does not share the positive nature of those I speak. It has been over a month now since the Pittsburgh Steelers lost in the AFC Playoffs in Denver and while there has been much to discuss, the leader of the Black ‘n Gold remains strangely silent and I don’t think it’s a good thing.
We last heard from Coach Tomlin publicly in the team’s season-ending press conference two days following the Denver loss when he told us he wanted all of his assistant coaches back for the 2012 season. The tea leaves were clearly showing that there were cracks in the foundation of communication between Tomlin and President Art Rooney II who in the Tuesday meeting said we need to run the ball better and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger needs to “tweak” his game. Since then, offensive coach Bruce Arians “retired” and then suddenly came out of his “retirement” to become the new offensive coordinator for the Indianapolis Colts. Harold Goodwin also departed for the Colts and is now their new offensive line coach while Defensive Coordinator in-waiting Keith Butler nearly left for the Colts as well before deciding to stay in Pittsburgh.
The silence continues to be deafening…
With talking heads such as myself commenting on just who the new coordinator would be we heard nothing from Tomlin. Would it be his old Tony Dungy-linked friend in Jim Caldwell? What about a promotion for Randy Fichtner or how about former coach Tom Clements of Green Bay returning to the ‘burgh? While we all speculated Tomlin remained quiet.
Now we know former Kansas City Chiefs’ Head Coach Todd Haley will be the man designing the offense for the Steelers. Haley’s hiring isn’t nearly as curious or questionable as the silence surrounding it. Coach Tomlin has yet to say anything regarding a coach who is in many eyes the complete opposite of the Steelers’ head man. Haley can be boisterous and confrontational whereas Tomlin is often emotionless as he paces the sidelines. 24 hours after the official announcement we still don’t know exactly who really pushed for Haley’s hiring but it isn’t taking a team of rocket scientists to make a hypothesis. It appears this was clearly the doing of Rooney who wants at the very least some balance to the offense if not more running period.
At some point Tomlin will need to address the hiring in one way or another because he will eventually in his capacity as Head Coach, have to go in front of the media. Remaining silent on this and other issues is not something the Pittsburgh media or the fans are used to and the longer it goes the worse it gets.