Don’t worry, this isn’t one of those, “Damn it, I want you to apologize to Mike Tomlin and do or say it in such a way that everyone can see or hear it!” articles. Believe me, I know how those can go.
And, hey, if you don’t want to praise the man at all for the job he’s done keeping the Steelers (8-5) relevant in 2019 despite the loss of so much integral offensive personnel, that is your right. As the great Christopher Carter pointed out last week, #FireTomlin is still a thing on Twitter. Therefore, wanting Tomlin gone as the Steelers head coach is obviously a hill that some will simply always want to die on.
But can you do me a favor? If you are going to acknowledge the tremendous work that Tomlin has been doing in 2019, can you please just do so without so many qualifiers and reminders of previous failures?
Below are just some responses I’ve seen from people who have swallowed their pride (kind of) and decided to praise Tomlin for his coaching performance in 2019. (Some of these may actually be word-for-word apologies by actual people from the Internet and not just written by me for comedic effect.)
“Dear Coach Cheerleader,
I have been a critic of yours for years, and I really don’t think you know X’s and O’s at all. Also, I really think you’ve wasted the latter part of Big Ben’s career. However, I will give credit where it’s due, and I must acknowledge that the job you’ve done this year has been pretty good. But, now that I say that, why should I give you credit for doing your job? What’s next? Am I going to start tipping my server for bringing me my beer?”
“Dear Coach Tomlin,
I think that fake punt in the Cardinals game the other day was one of the dumbest coaching moves I’ve ever seen. I don’t know what was rolling around in that empty head of yours, and I fear that you will do something equally stupid if the Steelers qualify for the postseason. Having said all of that, though, Coach, doing what you’ve done with a team that is lacking its franchise quarterback has been remarkable. I just wish you wouldn’t have wasted the previous 10 years when you had a healthy Ben Roethlisberger, as well as the greatest collection of offensive talent in the NFL.”
If was me who was responsible for the billboard on Route 19. You know the one that showed you dressed as a clown? And it was me who created the domain name: www.firetomlintheclown.com. And it was me who started the GoFundMe page in the hopes of raising enough money to send to Art Rooney so he could buy out the remainder of your contract. Having said that, however, the job you’ve done this year without a healthy Ben Roethlisberger has been exceptional. I still think you have a hard time getting your players up for lesser competition—including this season. I also don’t think I’ll ever get over that playoff loss to the Jaguars two years ago. Did you know I re-mortgaged my house in-order to buy Super Bowl tickets? I took a bath selling them to some cheap Eagles fans on the secondary market. Thanks for nothing, Coach.”
“Dear Leader of the Cheer Squad,
I still don’t know what you actually do as a coach to help your team win. Sure, there was that thing that one of your players said about how you went all “high school coach” at halftime of the Browns game and made the necessary adjustments that led to victory. But why did it take until halftime for you to adjust? Why weren’t your players prepared as professionals and not high schoolers? Anyway, I always thought you won in-spite of yourself in previous years thanks to all the Super Bowl talent you were handed right out of the gate. But this year, I must say, you’re doing a really decent job.”
“Dear Coach Tomlin,
I’ve basically called you “Coach Dumblin” for the entirety of your career in Pittsburgh, but this year, I must say, not bad.”
Three playoff wins since 2010? I mean, come on! Having said that, though, Coach, I must give credit where it’s due for the remarkable job you’ve done in 2019. Not sure why you didn’t have a suitable veteran backup quarterback in waiting to take Ben’s place, but that’s why I have that picture of you taped to my punching bag. That and that fake punt!”
I still think you’ve always done less with more, while every other coach—including Bill Belichick—has done more with less. But I must say, this year, a year in-which you have done so much more with so much less, not bad. I mean, it IS your job to keep the performance at a high level even in the face of adversity. But what do I know? I only coached high school football for 17 years. #HireJimHarbaugh.”
While I will continue to reserve judgment on you until you win a Super Bowl (yes, I know you’ve won one already, but that was with players willed to you by Bill Cowher, who, believe me, wouldn’t put up with half the shenanigans from his players that you do), I have to respect the job you’ve done this season.
PS, I still can’t believe you lost a playoff game to Tim Tebow.”
There you have it, just some of the acknowledgements from just some of Mike Tomlin’s long-time detractors.