One of the biggest criticisms that the Pittsburgh Steelers faced last season was that they were not a disciplined team. Even one of their former stars, James Harrison, said that Head Coach Mike Tomlin needs to be a more disciplined coach in order to help get his team to the next level.
The Steelers themselves, at least publicly, are not nearly as worried about such matters, and don’t expect them to be further issues. General Manager Kevin Colbert spoke to reporters earlier today and fielded a variety of questions, some of which unsurprisingly were regarding this topic, and of Harrison’s comments.
“There’s no concern whatsoever about our team’s attitude, discipline, all that other stuff that gets talked about”, he said to reporters regarding the team’s discipline and focus. “Absolutely no concern, because I am very comfortable working in this organization”.
But he didn’t stop there. Obviously aware of the heat that his head coach and working partner for the past dozen years has been under lately, he expanded his response in order to go to bat for Tomlin, saying that he is “a head coach that people do not understand”:
They do not see the Coach Tomlin I see in a meeting room; they do not hear Coach Tomlin talk to his team and watch the players pay attention to him as I do. They do not see him in a one-on-one meeting with a player, whether the player is doing something good or bad. We get into their personal lives a lot, because he cares about them as people as much as he does as players, and that’s very uncommon for (someone in his position) and the demands that are made on him. He’ll go beyond the professional demands to make sure he is doing the best he can for a player personally.
Every year, or at least just about, there is pressure from the outside saying that Tomlin is on the hot seat, or is going to be on the hot seat if this, this, and this doesn’t happen or doesn’t get better. And every year, the Steelers have success, but fall short of the ultimate goal, whether they take a slight step forward or a slight step back.
No matter how much pressure comes from the outside, that is never going to affect the way that the Steelers view their own business from within. That was evident in Colbert’s comments earlier today, speaking at least somewhat unprompted on Tomlin’s behalf.
For better or for worse, Steelers fans probably ought to settle in for the long haul when it comes to Tomlin. Though he is entering his 12th year already as the team’s head coach, he is still only 46 years old. Chuck Noll coached very nearly up to his 60s. it wouldn’t be surprising at all if Tomlin were to enter a third decade as the leader of this team.