Ever since Roger Goodell took over for Paul Tagliabue as NFL Commissioner, back-handed whispers and full-frontal finery have voiced fears of an anti-Pittsburgh Steelers agenda. Today, Goodell announced a move which appears to contradict such a notion.
Goodell announced on Tuesday Mike Tomlin's appointment to the NFL Competition Committee.
"Coach Tomlin will bring additional strength to the committee from the coaching perspective. Mike has strong, perceptive views about the game and is effective in expressing them. We look forward to his contributions to the committee's ongoing mission to improve the game."
In today's NFL, safety is the soup-du-jour; and no team has publicly suffered more scrutiny than the Steelers. Former Steeler James Harrison was a favorite target of the league's disciplinary committee, fined in excess of $100k and suspended from active duty for excessively violent hits which injured opposing players.
While the Steelers have been public opponents of approved rule changes which they believed might negatively affect the integrity of the game, they have also been proactive in emphasizing safety through youth football advocacy programs.
Perhaps Goodell is simply looking for an opposing, but succinct and charismatic voice to flavor up a stale recipe; or he could be trying to avoid any further public denial by the Steelers organization by attempting to assimilate one of their own into the league's fold. Either way, Tomlin seems just as prepared for this new task as he has been all others.
"I am humbled and honored to be selected to the competition committee by Commissioner Goodell. I am excited for the opportunity to help maintain and strengthen the NFL game, and I look forward to contributing any way that I can."
Tomlin has served on the coach's sub-committee of the competition committee since 2009. Interestingly enough, Tomlin's new seat on the main committee was previously held by the man Tomlin beat out for his current head coaching position with in Pittsburgh when Bill Cowher resigned - Ken Whisenhunt.