View Full Version : The Steeler Nation Welcomes Mike Tomlin

01-22-2007, 04:45 PM
After 15 years as head coach of one of the most storied franchises on all of professional sports, Bill Cowher's successor was announced to the NFL world and the Steeler Nation. Mike Tomlin's first season as Steelers head coach will take place during the team's 75th Anniversary season. He is only the third person to hold the position of head coach for the team dating back to 1969 when the team hired then 36-year-old Chuck Noll.

Mike Tomlin comes to Pittsburgh as a 35 yd old disciple of Tony Dungy, but not just in “on the field” matters but off the field as well. He spent 2006 as the Defensive Coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings after spending the previous five seasons (2001-05) as defensive backs coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Under Tomlin's guidance, Minnesota led the NFL in stopping the run and ranked eighth in the league in total defense. At Tampa Bay, he helped the Buccaneers lead the NFL in pass defense in 2004 and rank third in 2003. In 2002, Tomlin guided Tampa Bay's defensive backfield that led the NFL in pass defense and interceptions (31), while limiting opposing passers to a 48.4 rating and just 10 touchdowns en route to winning Super Bowl XXXVII. The Buccaneers ranked fifth in the NFL in pass defense and second in interceptions (28) in 2001, Tomlin's first season in Tampa Bay. Mike cites Tony Dungy as a "life mentor" in matters on and off the field; he respects what Tony stands for how he runs his life off the field as well as how he conducts himself and his staff on the field as well.

Tomlin was quoted as stating during the interview phase while speaking with reporters that

"I'm a fundamentalist, as opposed to scheme," said Tomlin. "Football is a tough man's game, it's an attrition game. You win by stopping the run and by being able to run the ball effectively. And doing the things that winners do: Being a detail-oriented football team, playing with great passion and executing. Part of coaching is being able to do what your guys do and to do it well. You have to be flexible in that regard and I've always taken that approach. Regardless of who they hire to be the head coach, they expect him to lead, and part of leading is being prepared to do things you feel strongly about. I'm no different than anyone else in that regard."

My initial thoughts as a life long fan of the Black & Gold, on the interview were that he seemed a bit short, some what arrogant in answering the first several questions that the Pittsburgh & National Media was throwing at him but after the first 10 minutes or so he began to smile, loosen up a bit, and generally started to show more of what he was about. If he was nervous, and I’m sure he was, he kept his poise very well and didn't promise or guarantee anything that a first time head coach shouldn't do. He answered the questions politely and was quick to point out on several occasions how he felt truly blessed to be here in Pittsburgh and that our city was a place he felt he was led to be in.

Thoughts on some of the x's and o's questions that were raised focused mainly on staff issues and schemes. The first staff question that was raised focused on if he could confirm or deny reports that Dick Lebeau would be staying on as Defensive Coordinator. Mike confirmed that indeed he had spoken with Lebeau and that he would be staying on as our Coordinator on Defense. Mike was also asked about other staff members, including Russ Grimm, but he declined to comment on any further issues concerning to the current coaches under contract with the Steelers. When asked if he had talked to Russ, he said that he had not yet talked to him so he could not comment on it.

The question was raised several times from different angles on if he would try to turn the Steelers into a 4-3 scheme, Cover 2, type defense that he employed in Minnesota and helped to run in Tampa Bay. He made it abundantly clear that he and the staff would explore all options to put our players in a position to be most effective on the field and that he understands how this team was built and what's it's designed to do both on offense and on defense. Also stating was Tomlin that while he is a mentor of the Cover 2 defense, he will not limit himself to just that line of thinking but will seek to find a combined strategy that will make this defense it's most effective.

In terms of the offense he made several references to his beliefs that in the NFL you must stop the run and be able to run the ball if you're going to be an effective team for the long haul. That belief has been a staple of the Steelers organization for as long as any of us can probably remember, and will confirm the thought process that "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". Tomlin's eyes lit up just a bit when questioned about working with Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger; stating that he was very excited to work with a Franchise, Young, Championship, quarterback like Ben but that he like every other position will be sure to have the fundamentals down pat.

The new front man of the Pittsburgh Steelers has alot of work ahead of him before the draft. He must decide between the current staff and any particular candidates he has in mind from outside the organization as to who he will surround himself with as assistant coaches. As it stands today he will at least need to name an Offensive Coordinator, Special Teams Coach, & Running Backs Coach as a minimum. Should he decide to replace any of the current staff is still yet unknown.

I went on record as stating that I was in favor of Grimm for the simple fact of continuity on the team during a transition of this magnitude. New coaches inevitably will bring about some type of change in the form of either a complete revamping of the players and strategy or subtle smaller changes to tweak the team into their own. While this fan is still not ready to back away from his statements previously made, there were countless factors that went into making this decision that the average or even dedicated fan will never know but suffice it to say from this fans perspective that Tomlin has erased my doubts that a lot of the Steeler Nation had, but also has confirmed many questions too. Coaching Staff, Defensive Philosophy as it pertains to our traditional Zone Blitz 3-4 scheme, how he will be in terms of his demeanor as a coach, how much will the players resist the change and compare Tomlin to Cowher, how will the fans react at the first sign of trouble, are only a few of the questions that we as fans will have to wait and see what the outcome brings. Suffice it say that the Bill Cowher era as of now is officially over, and the Mike Tomlin era has begun.

The waiting is over fellow Steeler fans, now the real waiting begins...

Top Gun

"Some statistics for my article were contributed by steelers.com"

BlacknGold Bleeder
01-22-2007, 09:05 PM
WELCOME aboard!! You now have the greatest fanbase supporting you, at least til your first loss...:lol: Seriously good luck and keep up the winning!! :tt02:

House of Steel
01-22-2007, 09:10 PM
Excellent Writing, Matt. Some of the best work I've ever read. AWESOME!! :tt02: :tt02:

01-22-2007, 09:12 PM
I wrote that up shortly after the press conference so we'd make sure that we stick to the SA promise of having breaking Steelers news first ! :bigthumb:

MRS Steelerfan
01-22-2007, 09:12 PM
:scratch: Ok, so this is for real now??Just making sure, after this weekend:dunno:

JK:bigthumb: BUT, really:scratch:

01-22-2007, 09:35 PM
Hope he turns out to be as good as all the players say he is and I sure hope he brings us our 6th TITLE TO STEEL TOWN :tt02: :clap: :tt02:

01-22-2007, 09:49 PM
Imagine what would happen if he were to bring that 6th title to Pittsburgh alot quicker than Cowher did, boy will the media jump on that like crazy !

01-22-2007, 10:01 PM
Imagine what would happen if he were to bring that 6th title to Pittsburgh alot quicker than Cowher did, boy will the media jump on that like crazy !

That would be a good thing :tt02: That's some media I could listen to with a :greengrin:

01-23-2007, 11:30 AM
Considering Tomlin has all the right pieces already in place to get back to the Super Bowl I could see him winning another title for the Steelers way faster than Cowher. When Cowher took over a lot of key talent was lost and he had to rebuild some, where Tomlin is taking over team that was basically just there at the Super Bowl! :cope:

01-23-2007, 11:53 AM
He's got a distinct advantage in that dept, but also a lot more pressure to win and win now. He won't have the luxury of being given some leeway that many new coaches get when they come in and it's basically implied that it will take atleast a couple years to see some positive results. He's got the pieces already in place so what he does with them will be interesting.

01-23-2007, 01:10 PM
wow...TG great article!!!!

I am excited to see Tomlin in action and to see what he can bring to the Steelers!

01-23-2007, 07:18 PM
Great article, I'm so excited for next year to see how he does and I believe in what he brings to us.

01-27-2007, 10:48 PM
Nice job!... I am looking forward to the Tomlin era. :bigthumb:

03-14-2007, 02:17 AM
I am too but it sure looks like we aren't making any positive offseason moves.

08-17-2007, 12:12 PM
Welcome Aboard Coach Tomlin.............