Pittsburgh Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin has been the leader of the team for 12 seasons now. He has failed to reach the postseason in four of those years—2009, 2012, 2013, and 2018—or a full third of his time with the headset. This is the first season in five years that he has failed to reach the postseason, however, and it doesn’t get easier with time.
“Extremely disappointed”, is how Tomlin began his end of season press conference yesterday. “I think that’s a succinct assessment of it. The fact that we’re actually standing in this room says it all. It’s not what we intended to do. It’s not what we embrace; it’s not what we accept. We better work our tails off to assure that we’re not having this conversation” again next year.
“Those are our intentions, but intentions are just part of it”, he went on. “Actions and planning and changes are a all a part of addressing circumstances such as the circumstances that we’re in”. He said that “being in this position affords us a lot of opportunity in terms of time to assess”, and he plans to utilize that opportunity.
“Oftentimes when you go deep into the playoffs, you’re getting on a moving train, whatever it is that may be in terms of 2019. The acquisition of coaching talent, the looking at free agency and draft, so forth. We’re out at the first exist, and so we have additional time. We better utilize that time”.
The most important, and most immediate, process that they must undergo this offseason, however, is to absorb the 2018 season as it unfolded, to assess the damage and make determinations about how to move forward without making the same mistakes again.
“We met this morning as a staff, I talked openly about dwelling in it, being where we are, doing a really good job of being accountable and assessing what has transpired before we even get into the task of plotting out ’19 and the things that come with it”, he said.
“I’m just not going to be bashful about that. When you lack success, when you fail, change is a part of it. We’ve talked about it as a staff, we’ve talked about it as players in our exit meetings. That’s just our business”.
“Part of moving forward is just wallowing in it, to be honest with you. And so we’re going to wallow”.
You can be sure that we as fans are going to be wallowing in it as well, not that they have much choice. Fans don’t have any control over how a team does outside of the intangible effect they can have as a crowd inside of a stadium.
We can’t coach the players. We can’t draft them or sign them to contracts. We can’t hire and fire coaches. We just have to hope for the best. And wallow in the misery when they’re not at their best. Apparently, the coaching staff wallows too when they come up short. So let’s all wallow together.