Mike Tomlin is far from the perfect coach. He is currently being raked over the coals—deservedly, I might add—as a result of his lack of foresight to prepare for the possibility of an overturned catch at the end of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ last game, to have more than one play called, which contributed to a game-ending interception.
But there is perhaps no better coach in the entire league when it comes to simply leading his team, and giving them what they need, on an individual level, to succeed. While he strives to give them freedom, he can be disciplinarian when necessary.
And that also comes at times like these, after facing a trying moment on the field, as the Patriots loss would qualify. Which is why his opening remarks during his press conference yesterday were so on point.
“For us it’s not about what transpired, it’s about how do we move on from it”, he told the gathered media, which used literally the entire question and answer segment to discuss the Patriots game, rather than the actually important upcoming game in Houston.
“How do we learn from it, how do we better ourselves for the next fight, which will be coming in a number of days”, is what he wants to learn from this group, many members of which have conceded that the loss admittedly was gut-wrenching due to the manner in which it came.
And they do have an extra day to get over it, since they will play the Texans on Christmas—a fact that is honestly quite absurd, given that the league already forced them to play on Christmas last year, and no other team in NFL history has ever been made to do that.
“We will go through our normal process”, Tomlin went on, before noting that the experience is still out of the ordinary because “we hadn’t lost a lot of games, and in particular recently”. Sunday’s loss concluded an eight-game winning streak, the longest in a single regular season since 2004.
“We haven’t had to deal with failure from a week-in and week-out perspective. How we respond to that loss is important, will define us”, he added. “How quickly we can transition and get our attention turned to the Houston Texans and the opponent that faces us this week and get back into our winning ways”.
Considering how much grief Tomlin got for acknowledging looking ahead in some respect to the Patriots, the fact that they went into that game winning eight in a row is really being overlooked, by the way. But I digress.
“We talk openly about the process in which we play when we are winning. That is prepare, play, analyze and repeat process. I will stick to that script”, he concluded. The song remains the same. Win or lose, every week of preparation is a fixed process, adjusted only for the specific opponent. There is no better way to get over a win or a loss. Stepping off the emotional rollercoaster.