Watch Tower: Super Bowl Media Shine on Tomlin, Arians, and Roethlisberger

A Super Bowl means a media firestorm of coverage, and Super Bowl XLV is no exception.

Rumors about Dick LeBeau’s future were bandied about like a hot potato in the national media, although the Post-Gazette maintained that LeBeau was going no where, and LeBeau has said as much.

Revisiting the Arians Situation

Ed Bouchette raised some eye brows early last week when he reflected that a year ago Bruce Arians almost got fired and “there was serious talk of not renewing Mike Tomlin’s contract.”

It is hard to dispute the bit about Arians, as it appears his job was in jeopardy at some point, but both Tomlin and Art Rooney II have since said that the situation inside Steelers offices was far less dramatic than how it was portrayed outside.

From a media analysis perspective, the interesting thing was that Ed Bouchette and Gerry Dulac never reported that Arians’ dismissal was imminent, and in a sense wagged a finger at those who’d made it out to be a done deal.

Revisiting the Tomlin Situation

Were Winston Churchill live today and in the media analysis business could he have said, “Never was so much made out of so little?”

Quite possibly.

Responding to a fan who was surprised at the comment that there was “serious talk of not extending Tomlin’s contract” Bouchette responded this way:

As for Tomlin, we wrote and said extensively that the Steelers were dragging their feet on extending Tomlin. It became a big issue in the spring, albeit overshadowed once Milledgeville erupted.

This is news to the Watch Tower.

Last winter and spring Ed Bouchette was all over the map on whether Mike Tomlin’s contract was to be renewed. First he said he had heard nothing, but expected the deal to happen.

Then, as the spring wore on, he began saying, primarily on on-line chats, that he “had heard no talk about talks,” and took that as a bad sign, going on the record as saying he did not expect the deal to be done.

One has to wonder about the whole “dragging their feet” comment Bouchette is making now as well as the “no talks about talk” he said then.

As the Watch Tower has indicated before, Bouchette has excellent sources within the Steelers organization, but when it comes to contract negotiation issues he has been caught flat-footed repeatedly in recent years.

The bottom line is the Steelers extended Tomlin’s contract right on schedule, shortly before training camp began. The fact that Bouchette wasn’t in the know does not suggest that the final outcome was ever in doubt, especially when you consider that Scott Brown reported that Art Rooney II had entered the off season wanting to extend Tomlin’s contract.

Starkey on Roethlisberger

The Tribune Review’s Joe Starkey stepped out to do what no reporter dare do before – question the whole Roethlisberger rehabilitation, and talk openly about the media’s role in it.

Starkey stops well short of questioning Ben’s turn around, but merely points out that the media only gets to see Ben for a short time, and given that we’re mere months from Midgeville, that’s far too short a time to proclaim a transformation.

I for one, hope that Ben has turned the corner toward being a better person. But I also tip my hat to Starkey for writing something that is not going to make him popular in the Steelers locker room, let alone during Super Bowl week.

Thanks for visiting. To read more analysis of the media that cover the Steelers, click here to read more from Steel Curtain Rising’s Watch Tower.

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