Isaiah Buggs and Carlos Davis have been fighting for a helmet all season long. Even when both got a helmet on Sunday, their fighting continued.
Late in the first half, CBS cameras caught Buggs and Davis get into a dust-up on the sidelines. Both took a couple jabs at each other before Chris Wormley played peacemaker and Mike Tomlin walked over with big “I’ll turn this car around energy.”
It’s hard to know the context that set it off but regardless, Mike Tomlin had no issue with a couple of young guys wearing their emotions on their sleeves.
“We’ve got some gamecocks and every now and then they fight a little bit,” Tomlin said after the game. “But all in the right spirit. We’re trying to win football games and they’re trying to win football games. And so that’s just a part of it. We don’t apologize for that. I hate that it became public, but it happens sometimes. We got emotional men fighting their tails off and fighting their tails off to win.”
For the past several weeks, Davis had received the final active gameday helmet, keeping Buggs in street clothes. With Cam Heyward “airmailed” to the playoffs, both got the chance to dress today. And both guys are stating their case to have a role next season. Davis is a 7th round rookie trying to stick in this league, a tough feat for any 7th round pick. Buggs is a talented player but struggled with weight and assignments, causing him to be passed up by Davis.
The reality is these things happen more than fans know. Football is a competitive game full of emotion. Reaching the point of two guys sparring isn’t ideal but if you’ve ever been to a training camp practice, these types of moments are common. And if anything, relished by Tomlin. Check out Tomlin’s face when asked about it. I’d call that “giddy.”
That’s a coach who understands the context of Buggs and Davis’ situation, two young guys battling it out in the last game of the season. Not someone who is going to overreact or worry about any potential media noise about him “losing the locker room” or how “bad of a look” it might be. Just as was the case when TJ Watt and Keith Butler got into a shouting match weeks ago. To Tomlin, it’s as much part of football as blocking and tackling.