BEFORE: Here it is, from Week 3 pre game interview with Pittsburgh Steelers head coach, sugar lips, Mike Tomlin. He's really got a rap! When asked how the team [Steelers] were preparing for their upcoming game at Oakland, the rap began and the Tomlin-isms spewed forth: "They've got lots of good players," Tomlin began. Then he cited an impressive list of Oakland starters including the colleges they graduated from .... (So, i'm assuming now, that this is what great coaches do–memorize the Alma Maters of their upcoming opponents!? Because we're gonna match-up according to schools ...? "LONG" seemed to be the word of the day. Hell, maybe LONG will be the word of the season! Hell, maybe LONG is what all of the other top NFL coaches are saying!? "See," Tomlin said referring to an Oakland running back, "He plays LONG ...." There was a moment of silence in the press game room (while i suppose everyone–perhaps including Tomlin–was trying to figure out just what the hell LONG meant). So, the Muse is wondering, "So what does that mean Mikey? Long? Does that mean he has long legs, a long stride; or maybe it means he plays 'long and hard' but the 'hard' part has been dropped, because in jock-talk-lexicon lingo, LONG now means "long and hard?" So how do we match up against a LONG player Mikey? Play him SHORT, or put another LONG player one-on-one against him. Or maybe mix it up it. Confuse Oakland's LONG players by double-teaming them with SHORT and MEDIUM players to throw them off their LONG rhythms. My assumption from this new Tomlinism is that LONG players are the best-a GREAT player. (But people might see through his facade if he says the common, GREAT; so fool 'em with LONG.) Mikey never did answer the question about how the Steelers were going to prepare for or play Oakland. Me thinks, maybe Mikey really doesn't know! Hell, that's what the other real coaches are for! But the sportswriters are thinking (not!): OK, Tomlin's the youngest Super Bowl winning coach in NFL history, so LONG it is. So they ask another question, and they get another Alma Mater and another player that plays LONG. Now everyone in the press room seems to be getting into the LONG thing. It seems to be THE THING. Surprised that no one is slapping him on top the head, and sensing he's fooled the football world yet again, Tomlin continues with the LONG thing. Almost every player on Oakland that he mentions plays LONG, and fortunately for the Steelers, Tomlin mentions a few of his men that play LONG, too. Well, we all know that Big Ben plays LONG, but i was surprised to learn something very important about Oakland's starting quarterback, Carson Palmer–here, let Mikey explain it: "You know," Tomlin said, "They got a quarterback in Palmer, he's one of those guys who can throw for three hundred twenty-four, three hundred twenty-five yards a game ...." Now if you're not really listening, then you might simply think, that's another cool, intelligent head coach comment from Tomlin. And you sink a little further into your couch, had you just been born with a mind like Mikey, you, too, could have been a great NFL head coach instead of a beer-filtering android. But i'm guffawing again. This post game interview is just way too much for a sober man. I hit the pause icon, and close the window. SO WHICH IS IT MIKEY–THREE HUNDRED TWENTY-FOUR OR THREE HUNDRED TWENTY-FIVE?!!!
AFTER: Last week, prior to the Oakland game, we all learned how a top tier NFL coach like Mike Tomlin prepares for their upcoming opponents: by memorizing the Alma Maters (where the kid went to college) of the starters on the opposing team; and determining which ones play LONG. Now, after Week 3, we learn how the top tier coach, Tomlin, handles a loss. It’s by TIPPING YOUR HAT! From his post game press conference, Tomlin said, “I would like to tip my hat to the Oakland Raiders.” Then he continued with this befuddling statement: “They [the Raiders] played winning ball. That is not the style of ball we desire to play.” Huh?! Okay, Mikey. We think we know what you mean. But my biggest concern is, do the players know what you mean? I guess they do, i guess? [I hope!] The style of ball we DESIRE to play–DESIRE? Sounds so Shakespearean, dear poet Mikey. “To win or not to win ...?” How about ASPIRE or simply, WANT or TRY?! Oh, Mikey, always trying to play the part of a cerebral coach, to live up to his accidental personage .... From the “Free Dictionary...” DESIRE: To wish or long for; request. ASPIRE: To have a great ambition or ultimate goal; to strive toward an end. Thus in Mikey-speak, “That is not the style of ball we wish, long for, and request to play.” Thanks a lot, Mikey. It’s humiliating enough for a die-hard Steelers fan to lose to our former nemesis (before your time, Mikey) the Raiders, but then you got to go and further mess up our already eroded English language skills. But back to this “tipping the hat” thing. Mikey doesn’t wear a hat, he wears a baseball cap. Perhaps he’s confusing himself with Chuck Noll (the first and only truly great coach in Pittsburgh Steelers franchise history. Oh, and the one they let get away in favor of Mikey, Ken Whisenhunt–no doubt because he looked to much like Bill Cowher. Me wonders how many more Rings the Steelers would have if they had kept KW and passed on MT?) But back to the hat–rather the baseball cap–that Mikey wears. Can you actually “tip a cap?” Well, yes you can, baseball players customarily “tip their caps” in acknowledgement of the fans' applause. But is it proper sports etiquette to “tip your baseball cap” after an American football game? I think not. It seems silly. But if the Steelers keep losing, and Mikey keeps tipping, then perhaps "tipping the cap" will become customary after losing a football game. And what puzzled me even further is that the LONG, LONG, LONG thing from last week has been long, long, long-forgotten by Tomlin and his sportswriter pals. Tomlin made no use of last week's often spoken Tomlinism, LONG. Tomlin made no mention of anyone on the Raiders team playing LONG, owing to their victory; nor was there any mention of the Steelers NOT playing LONG, thus coming up short. By the way, a little later in the interview Tomlin says, “Not very good execution by us, but at the same time, you tip your hat to them ....” Okay, all you Steelers fans reading this while wearing caps, or hats, or toupees. Tip them now. Now go Google and memorize the alma maters of some of the week 5 opposing starters, determine which ones play LONG, work on your pre game locker room pep talk, “The DESIRE of not playing the style of a winning team...!@#$%?” And you’re on your way to being a top tier NFL head coach for your fantasy football team. And for you youngsters out there, read further installments in the upcoming weeks of “Mikey’s Step-By-Step Guide To Becoming A Great NFL Coach,” and maybe someday you’ll become the Super Bowl’s youngest winning head coach. Oh wait, there’s more! And, “never hesitate!” Mikey said he will never hesitate to go for it on fourth-and-less-than-one from the Steelers own thirty! Whoa, Mikey, settle down now–stop watching all those replays of “The Expendables” while drinking double lattes. Yes, that’s a sure way to win one football game for every fifteen you lose with that strategy. Plus, fans can recall zillions of times, Mikey never went for it on fourth-and-one even inside the opponent’s territory. And another zillion times when he hesitated. Consistency, Mikey. Consistency. P.S. Tomlin is given a lot of room (from criticism) because he's the youngest head coach to win a Super Bowl*. (*With someone else’s team.) For the most part, an impressive but meaningless statistic that has no bearing on the outcome the next week’s game. There is another term for this distinguished achievement–known the world over as– “beginners luck!” Ben Roethlisberger had it in winning Super Bowl 40, throwing for a total of zero (O) TDs, barely scoring on a highly disputed 1 yard touchdown run, and throwing 2 crucial interceptions. Hey, Mikey, i’m just razzin’ you. Really, I want you to win. I’m a die-hard Steelers fan! I used to sit on the freezing bleachers of Pitt Stadium when the Steelers went 1-13, before you were born. But you did somehow manage to win a Super Bowl (and i hope you win many more with the Steelers). And for that, i tip my hat to you!
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