Why Colin Cowherd’s Mike Tomlin attack amounts to pure idiocy
One of the great personal ironies of the global economy is that, trips to the United States either prevent or seriously impair my ability to watch, follow and write about the Pittsburgh Steelers. So it came as a great shock Thursday morning in San Francisco to see that my friend Ivan Cole had taken it upon himself to defend Mike Tomlin against Colin Cowherd on Rebecca Rollet’s Going Deep with the Steelers.
- My first thought was, “Are we really having this conversation? Aren’t the Steelers 2-0?”
Well, yes, we are. And perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised, because the year began with then BTSC scribe Chris Carter obliterating Jason Whitlock’s contention that Tomlin was “coddled” simply because he was African American. Ironically, or not, Whitlock launched his attack on Cowherd’s show.
My friend Mr. Cole launched a two pronged attack on Cowherd, first taking aim at Cowherd’s argument, and second speculating about Cowherd’s motives. Cole’s article amounts to must read for Steelers Nation, and there’s no reason to rehash his arguments here.
There is every reason to pile on additional reasons to prove that Colin Cowherd’s Mike Tomlin attack is pure idiocy.
Colin Cowherd’s Mike Tomlin Attack Rooted in Stale Criticisms
Colin Cowherd’s Mike Tomlin attack begins in the same old stale criticisms that have been leveled against Tomlin for years. The only one that holds any validity is Tomlin’s almost Thanksgiving Day trip of Jacoby Jones.
- Cowherd criticizes Tomlin’s assistants for getting into fights with opposing players on the sideline.
Is this the best you can do? The charges leveled against Joey Porter and Mike Munchak during the circus in Cincinnati have been debunked by video evidence. Neither coach acted as an instigator, nor were any of their actions inappropriate.
- Cowherd then proceeds to say that Tomlin’s no good late in games.
Really? Last January Mike Tomlin led a Pittsburgh Steelers team into a division rival’s stadium on a rainy night and January. His third string quarterback, Landry Jones threw an interception from the Steelers 14 with 1:43 left to play with Pittsburgh down by 1.
- Let’s see, how did that one turn out?
Oh, yeah, the Steelers came back and won that one, and one of the franchise’s most dramatic playoff come backs since the Immaculate Reception (and that’s not a comparison one makes lightly.) Yeah, Mike Tomlin really mangles clock management, and if he doesn’t, his teams choke with the game on the line.
Tomlin Was Simply Lucky to get Roethlisberger
The basis of Cowherd’s argument is that Tomlin was lucky to inherit a roster with Ben Roethlisberger and others.
There’s no doubt that Ben Roethlisberger has made Mike Tomlin a better head coach just as Bill Cowher suddenly became a Super Bowl winning instead of a Super Bowl contending head coach after Roethlisberger arrived in Pittsburgh. And Bill Parcells was a better coach with Phil Simms than he was with Drew Bledsoe, Vinny Testaverde and whoever else he had under center with Jets, Patriots, and Cowboys.
- But Cowherd betrays himself here without even knowing it.
You see, when Mike Tomlin arrived in Pittsburgh, Ben Roethlisberger was “an effective game manager,” and of who it was said that “nothing to this point suggests that Roethlisberger can carry an undermanned team on his shoulders to playoff success.” This missive was written on ESPN back on August 2, 2007, before Mike Tomlin had called his first game as Steelers head coach. (The same article suggested that Matt Leinart was a sure-fire Hall of Famer while Ben would never get to Canton.)
- A decade later those words seem laughable.
In fact, during the Steelers rebuilding seasons in 2012 and 2013, Roethlisberger’s presence was cited as a reason why the Steelers could go all the way. Cowherd himself extols Roethlisberger as one of the best three quarterbacks in the AFC. He’s right. But doesn’t Mike Tomlin deserve credit for helping develop Ben Roethlisberger, or at the very least providing him an environment to thrive in?
- And while we’re at it, has Colin Cowherd always thought that Ben Roethlisberger was an elite quarterback?
Or did Cowherd sing the “Big Ben’s just a ‘game manager’ chorus” a decade ago? I don’t know, but perhaps some questions are best left unasked.
Mike Tomlin is a George Seifert, not a Barry Switzer
Colin Cowherd’s Mike Tomlin attack is laced with comparison’s to Barry Switzer. The argument is that, like Switzer, Tomlin inherited a talented team and rode on his predecessor’s coattails. It IS true that Mike Tomlin took charge of a Super Bowl ready team.
- But Mike Tomlin’s Super Bowl XLIII team boasted a host of different starters from Bill Cowher’s Super Bowl XL team.
Tomlin started James Harrison whereas Bill Cowher kept him on the bench. Unlike Cowher, Tomlin didn’t have the benefit of the services of Jeff Hartings and Alan Faneca, instead he made it work with Justin Hartwig and Darnell Stapleton. What’s more, Mike Tomlin’s 2010 Steelers team featured even more new faces.
- Barry Switzer got handed a Super Bowl caliber team, and within two years, he brought home another Lombardi Trophy.
Kudos to him. But two years later, Switzer’s team had imploded and his players quit on him late in the season. Has last game featured Troy Aikman imploring his teammates in vain to hustle to the line of scrimmage to run the hurry up offense. Jerry Jones fired him.
- Comparing Mike Tomlin to Barry Switzer is completely off base.
The better comparison is between Mike Tomlin and George Seifert. Like Tomlin, George Seifert got handed the keys to a Super Bowl-ready team, and like Tomlin, Seifert drove his team home. Seifert however, kept his team in contention and in 1994 won another Super Bowl.
- No one in Steelers Nation should count Lombardi Trophies before they’re won.
But today the Pittsburgh Steelers are legitimate Super Bowl contenders, with a roster that only contains three players from their last Championship team….
…Not bad for a coach who simply got “lucky” to inherit a talented team.