Watch Tower: John Harris’ Renewed Criticism of Tomlin’s Quitting is Way Off the Mark

The site defines “to beat a dead horse” this way: beat or flog a dead horse, to persist in pursuing or trying to revive interest in a project or subject that has lost its usefulness or relevance.

It is a term most of us are familiar with. However, it seems like the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s John Harris would do well do to reacquaint himself with the concept.

Or perhaps the idea of beating a dead horse is entirely new to Harris, as the lead in to his article covering the Steelers victory over the Ravens suggests:

See, Mike Tomlin. This is why you don’t hang your football team out to dry with four games left in the season.

Steelers 23, Baltimore 20.

You don’t throw dirt on your players, no matter how angry you may be at the time, because they’re the defending Super Bowl champions.

They might not be what you want them to be, but they’re not as bad as you wanted us to believe following the 27-24 loss to Oakland on Dec. 6.

Regular readers of this site will remember that the Watch Tower took Harris to task following the Oakland game. At the time, Harris came down on Mike Tomlin, and came down hard for his admission that he was “just trying to win a game.”

To Harris, that was tantamount to quitting on his players.

We needn’t rehash all arguments as to why Harris is wrong here (click here to read the original post).

We will, however point out that Harris’ harshness is not shared by other members of the Pittsburgh media, as evidenced by Ed Bouchette’s comment in a recent on-line chat.

We’ll also point out that Harris completely fails to support his argument. He simply makes a sweeping condemnation, and then does nothing to back it up while ignoring three glaring facts that contradict his conclusion, namely:

  • The Steelers, however flawed their play might have been, have shown plenty of fight since the Cleveland debacle
  • In the course of two articles, Harris has failed to produce a single quote supporting his thesis that Mike Tomlin hung his players out to dry
  • Harris has likewise also failed to produce an “off the record” or anonymous source for the Steelers locker room or front office that supports his contention

Devoid of such support, Harris argument is mere personal opinion, little more than rantings during a post-game wind down that one might expect in dark corners of a Steelers bar.

Far short of what you’d expect from the sports editor of a major daily.

It was one thing for Harris to vent like this after the Oakland game, it is another for him to revisit the argument while the Steelers are on a two game winning streak.

No Ill Will Toward Harris, But….

Steel Curtain Rising bears no ill will to John Harris. He is a generally a good journalist who works hard and makes some great points. Just a few weeks ago, the Watch Tower commended Harris for being right on the Steelers decision to cut Anthony Madison.

But his current vendetta against Tomlin for the coach’s “I am just trying to win a game” comment is hard to fathom. Perhaps Harris just knows that negativity drives page views. Perhaps he simply does not like Tomlin on a personal level.

The Steelers, both players and coaches, have given Steelers Nation a lot of issues to dissect when it comes to understanding the disappointments of the 2009 season.

Mike Tomlin quitting on his players, however, is not a legitimate issue. And John Harris should know that.

Thanks for visiting. For more criticism of those who cover the Steelers, click here and scoll down to see all Watch Tower articles.

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