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    Tomlin building own legacy with Steelers

    Tomlin building own legacy with Steelers

    January 14, 2009 3:17 PM


    Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker

    PITTSBURGH -- Every day, Mike Tomlin walks by five Lombardi trophies on the way to his office.

    Not one.

    Not two or three.

    But five.


    Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin is well aware of the football legacy in Pittsburgh.
    It's a tremendous symbol of excellence for the Pittsburgh Steelers. But for Tomlin, it's also a daily reminder of the extremely high standard the second-year coach has to live up to.

    One can almost feel the ghosts of Chuck Noll and Bill Cowher swirling around Pittsburgh this time of year. It's playoff time in the NFL, and every Pittsburgh head coach dating back to 1969 has become legendary by contributing at least one Super Bowl to the organization and the city.

    Tomlin wants -- and expects -- to do the same.

    "I love the high expectations that come with this job," said Tomlin. "I'd rather have high ones than low ones. It's a sense of pride, because the tradition is awesome. You can't put a price tag on it. It's inspiring."

    Tomlin, 36, already has Pittsburgh (13-4) in the AFC Championship Game against the rival Baltimore Ravens (13-5). The game guarantees that one AFC North team will represent the conference in Tampa for Super Bowl XLIII.

    These are the big games Tomlin needs to eventually win to be mentioned alongside his lofty predecessors. Noll, who won four Super Bowls in the 1970s, is a Hall of Fame coach and Cowher is a lock for Canton when he decides to permanently retire.

    Tomlin is doing well so far.

    He is 22-10 in his first two regular seasons and won his first career playoff game last week against the San Diego Chargers. Tomlin's winning percentage of .688 is better at this point than both Cowher (.623) and Noll (.566). But everyone knows football excellence in Pittsburgh is judged by hardware.

    "I want to win one for him just for the fact that he is a great coach," Steelers receiver Hines Ward said. "He's following in the footsteps of coach Cowher and coach Noll, but the tradition here doesn't stop. This organization is still all about winning Super Bowls and being there to give yourself a chance to play in the playoffs."

    Cowher dealt with many of the same issues following in the footsteps of Noll. He spent 15 years in in Pittsburgh and -- despite consistent winning -- didn't win the Super Bowl until year 14 of his tenure.

    Cowher struggled most in AFC title games, where he was 2-4. He split two Super Bowl appearances -- losing Super Bowl XXX to the Dallas Cowboys and winning Super Bowl XL against the Seattle Seahawks.

    This is the 14th AFC Championship Game in Pittsburgh's storied history. The Steelers are 6-7 in their previous appearances.

    Tomlin has a chance to advance to his first Super Bowl much earlier than Cowher, who got to his first big game in his fourth season. It also doesn't hurt Tomlin that this year's playoff field is wide open as three No. 1 and No. 2 seeds were upset in last week's divisional round.

    Pittsburgh, the second seed in the AFC, is the highest-seeded team remaining in the postseason.

    "We've worked out cans off all year to get to this point," Steelers defensive end Brett Keisel said. "Now it's about seizing this opportunity, taking advantage and going to Tampa."

    Tomlin has said numerous times that the 2008 Steelers are not his story. It's a humble statement but not completely accurate.

    Tomlin's rapid growth as a coach is one of the reasons Pittsburgh is in title contention. The Steelers saw no drop-off after switching head coaches for the first time in 15 years, and Tomlin deserves much of the credit for keeping continuity and high expectations intact throughout the organization.

    "He's done a phenomenal job of getting all his players and getting this team back to where we wanted to be," Ward said. "Last year we fell short in the playoffs. This year we advanced to the next round and we're one game away from the Super Bowl. So a lot of players do want to win it for him.

    "To go to the playoffs his first two years, we can't ask for any rookie coaches to do that."

    The Mount Rushmore of Steelers coaches may someday include Tomlin. But, first, he has to add a sixth piece of hardware to that very same trophy case he passes at work every single day.

    He is da man.....
    Last edited by ejsteeler; 01-14-2009 at 03:50 PM.

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    Keeper of Keys Dean Denton's Avatar
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    I will except Tomlin when he wins 3 SB....until that day, I'm on the fence....lol

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    AZ_Steeler's Avatar
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    The thing about Tomlin is he already has some Super Bowl experience, so his first trip he should be prepared!

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    SA's #1 Pirates Fan Tetris Champion Black@Gold Forever32's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dean Denton View Post
    I will except Tomlin when he wins 3 SB....until that day, I'm on the fence....lol
    Damn........Talk about high expectations...... One thing to point out there if the Steelers do win the Super Bowl then Tomlin will have reached God like status within the Stillers Nation......Plus he would have done it in only his second year as a HC.......I also think Tomlin did come into a much better situation then either Coach Noll or Coach Cowher......

    Noll had to rebuild a total door mat franchise...........

    Cowher had to replace a coaching lengend and then really retool a declining roster.......The Steelers were not exactly a powerhouse in the late 80s and in 1990/91.......

    But that isn't to dismiss what Coach Tomlin has done....He to in way had to replace an icon in Bill Cowher and then refocus a talented roster that kind off lost its focus after that Super Bowl XL win........Plus had to get the vets on this team to buy into what he was selling.........

    I'm not on the fence with Coach Tomlin anymore.....The improvement of this team on the road this year and the fact this team is in the AFC title game has made me a believer in him......
    Last edited by Black@Gold Forever32; 01-14-2009 at 04:30 PM.

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    Stairwayto7's Avatar
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    Tomlin inherited a damn good team. Just a year removed from a SuperBowl victory. I`m not trying to dis him either. I actually like him. But he has along way to go!


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    Keeper of Keys Dean Denton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Black@Gold Forever32 View Post
    Damn........Talk about high expectations...... One thing to point out there if the Steelers do win the Super Bowl then Tomlin will have reached God like status within the Stillers Nation......Plus he would have done it in only his second year as a HC.......I also think Tomlin did come into a much better situation then either Coach Noll or Coach Cowher......

    Noll had to rebuild a total door mat franchise...........

    Cowher had to replace a coaching lengend and then really retool a declining roster.......The Steelers were not exactly a powerhouse in the late 80s and in 1990/91.......

    But that isn't to dismiss what Coach Tomlin has done....He to in way had to replace an icon in Bill Cowher and then refocus a talented roster that kind off lost its focus after that Super Bowl XL win........Plus had to get the vets on this team to buy into what he was selling.........

    I'm not on the fence with Coach Tomlin anymore.....The imrovement of this team on the road this year and the fact this team is in the AFC title game has made me a believer in him......
    The only reason that I feel like being on the fence is because I think if Cowher would have kept coaching this team he would have won a few more. Cowher, almost every year he put a team on the field good enough to win a SB. The only problem was the Steelers have not had a good enough QB to get it done....Until Ben. Tomlin not only got Ben, he got Dick and a pretty bad *** Def. So my expectation of Tomlin might be higher then most, but with the best QB in the league, and the best Def Coordinator (Dick) in the league I think they should win 3 in the next 5 years....

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    THAT DAMN GOOD yinzer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dean Denton View Post
    I think they should win 3 in the next 5 years....
    hell, let's make it 5 for 5!
    RIDICULOUSLY good looking...

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    Keeper of Keys Dean Denton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yinzer View Post
    hell, let's make it 5 for 5!
    hahaha I didn't want to sound like a greedy pig, but if he can then I suggest he do it.

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    The knock on Cowher was choking in the AFCC, Tomlin has a chance to start off with a bang. If he could pull this off, he could contend with the team atleast a few more years.
    On offense, priority number one this offseason will be the line. But QB, RB, TE we are fine, Mendenhall could be huge. Reveivers Hines is getting up there, and we still need a big reciever. On defense, We will be needing a NT, Hampton and Hoke are getting old. Farrior will need replaced in a couple, and maybe Clark. But overall the age of our players is pretty spread out.


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  10. #10
    THAT DAMN GOOD yinzer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clevestinks View Post
    The knock on Cowher was choking in the AFCC, Tomlin has a chance to start off with a bang. If he could pull this off, he could contend with the team atleast a few more years.
    On offense, priority number one this offseason will be the line. But QB, RB, TE we are fine, Mendenhall could be huge. Reveivers Hines is getting up there, and we still need a big reciever. On defense, We will be needing a NT, Hampton and Hoke are getting old. Farrior will need replaced in a couple, and maybe Clark. But overall the age of our players is pretty spread out.
    i agree. i also have a feeling that keyaron fox might turn out to be a stud linebacker.
    RIDICULOUSLY good looking...

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