Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin had a very candid interview with former NFL head coach turned NBC analyst Tony Dungy a few days ago that was aired ahead of the team’s Sunday night game against the Green Bay Packers and now he’s taking a little bit of heat for it.
Tomlin essentially told Dungy that he believes his team can and should win the Super Bowl this year and that he firmly accepts the fact that the Week 15 game against the New England Patriots will more than likely be the first of two between the two teams if both handle their business the way they’re expected to from here on out. After the Steelers last-second win over the Packers, Tomlin was asked during his post-game press conference to reveal what compelled him to say what he did to Dungy about his team’s Super Bowl chances in addition to him uncharacteristically looking ahead to a future meeting against the Patriots
“He asked for non-coach speak,” Tomlin said of his interview with Dungy, who he used to work under when the two were with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. “So, I was having a conversation with an old friend. You know I’ve got respect for this process. We’ve got a good football team. I’ve got a great deal of confidence in them. Everybody in America knows that’s a big game, ok. We couldn’t deny that if we wanted to. You guys are going to ask us about it between now and then. So, I stand by the statement.”
Tomlin’s comments also seemed to trigger Skip Bayless of Fox Sports 1 and he immediately took to Twitter with his thoughts on the matter after the game was over.
“So Mike Tomlin was already talking tough about the Patriots-at-Pittsburgh game on Dec. 17 in an interview last week with Tony Dungy … then tonight his team barely beat Brett Hundley. Good luck against Brady,” Bayless tweeted.
Should Tomlin have said what he said to Dungy? Personally, I don’t see anything wrong with it. Everybody knows that the Week 15 game between the Steelers and the Patriots will be a big one that might just decide the No. 1 seed in the AFC. Regardless of which team wins that game, there’s a very good chance the two teams will ultimately meet again in the playoffs at some point. Tomlin is probably well-aware of the fact that his teams haven’t fared well against the Patriots since he arrived in Pittsburgh and especially when quarterback Tom Brady is under center.
Tomlin gave a candid interview to an old friend and mentor and what he told him isn’t likely to have any bearing on what ultimately happens in future games against the Patriots. Until that game happens, however, I’m sure we’ll be talking more about what Tomlin told Dungy in the coming days and weeks.