Even though it’s been nearly three weeks since the Pittsburgh Steelers lost to the Jacksonville Jaguars in the Divisional Round of the playoffs there’s still a lot of finger pointing going on when it comes to why that loss happened and who was mostly to blame for it. On Wednesday, Former Steelers Hall of Fame running back Jerome Bettis took his turn at analyzing why his former team lost to the Jaguars during a Super Bowl LII radio row interview with Adam Schein of Mad Dog Sports Radio.
ICYMI: Steelers legend & Pro Football Hall of Famer Jerome Bettis tells @AdamSchein head coach Mike Tomlin didn't have his team prepared & ready for the Jacksonville Jaguars & that he needs to learn from that experience pic.twitter.com/FMRYruNj13
— Mad Dog Sports Radio (@MadDogRadio) January 31, 2018
“It’s a lot on the players because obviously they went out there and didn’t play well, but it’s an awful lot on the coaching staff as well,” Bettis told Schein. “Coach Tomlin, he didn’t have them prepared, he didn’t have them ready, had them looking past this football game and you just can’t do that in the NFL when you’re playing in the playoffs. Each team in that playoff deserved to be there and they didn’t give the proper amount of respect and I don’t think they were prepared enough for that football game.
“When you make those bad decisions because you weren’t, you know, in that situation, they didn’t play good situational football and I think when you get in the playoffs, that’s why the Patriots have been the dominant team in this era because they have played situational football the best.”
Bettis’ accusation that Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin had his team looking ahead to a possible AFC Championship game rematch against the New England Patriots, instead of being focused on beating the Jaguars certainly isn’t something new and it’s fair analysis, all things considered. With that said, Bettis thinks that Tomlin should use what happened this season as a learning opportunity to help ensure that he’ll never be accused of looking past another team ever again.
“I think he should learn from this situation,” Bettis told Schein when asked how Tomlin can be better moving forward. “I think there’s a lot to learn from. He sees that you can’t approach these big games like that. Just because the Patriots are on the schedule, you can’t circle them. Then you tell the public and you tell your players that this is how we’re going to go about it. We’re going to talk about the Patriots before we play the Patriots and it’s totally unacceptable, especially when the idea is take one game at a time.”
The Steelers will play the Patriots once again at Heinz Field at some point during the 2018 season and it will be interesting to see how Tomlin handles his team and the media ahead of that game taking place and especially if that contest happens late in the team’s schedule like it did this past season and with both teams potentially on course to meet in the playoffs.