The Pittsburgh Steelers are coming off a very rough 2018 season. ‘Team Turmoil’, as the mainstream media called them, had everything. Off field drama, on field drama and even a tie during the 16-game regular season
Regardless of what went down, the team under performed, squandering a 7-2-1 record to finish 9-6-1 and miss the playoffs.
Fans thought that was bad enough, but what happened in Week 17 and after sent the fan base into a tail spin. Antonio Brown’s absence vs. the Bengals in the regular season finale, followed by his destructive path on his way to the Oakland Raiders left fans feeling deflated and devoid of life for their favorite football team.
Many questioned Ben Roethlisberger, they said Mike Tomlin was to blame, they wanted someone to blame. For whatever reason, the team has rebounded, and seemed to have bonded together throughout the trials and tribulations of the last six months.
However, there is no doubt the Steelers, and Mike Tomlin, have their doubters entering 2019. People doubt if JuJu Smith-Schuster can replace the 15 touchdowns left when Brown was traded to the Raiders. People doubt if James Conner can continue to perform at a high level. Many wonder if Devin Bush will truly be the answer to the defense desperately missing Ryan Shazier since his back injury in 2017.
Of all those who are being doubted, no one would trump Mike Tomlin. This is why when NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks put together a list of people who are about to prove their doubters wrong Mike Tomlin found himself on the list.
Check out what he had to say about the Steelers’ head coach:
Mike Tomlin, head coach, Pittsburgh Steelers: After watching the Antonio Brown drama play out in Oakland, Steelers fans should have a greater appreciation for how Tomlin kept the locker room intact for as long as he did. That said, the 13th-year head coach needed to fix Pittsburgh’s culture this offseason, after seeing his star-studded squad miss the playoffs in 2018 despite looking like a bona fide title contender on paper. Listening to the buzz surrounding Steelers camp, the team might actually benefit in an addition-by-subtraction scenario, with AB and Le’Veon Bell being replaced by a new crop of playmakers eager to make their mark. JuJu Smith-Schuster and James Conner have already shown their capacity to handle premium roles, but there are some others who look primed and ready for more responsibility -- most notably, receiver James Washington and hybrid back Jaylen Samuels. Considering Pittsburgh’s strong history of developing players, Tomlin’s squad won’t skip a beat without Nos. 84 and 26.
Tomlin has plenty of doubters, and would most likely nothing more than to prove those doubters wrong. But let’s not think Tomlin actually cares about looking into a camera and saying, “Yes! Told ya!” But more along the lines of winning. And as we all know, winning cures almost all ailments.
This is what is ahead of Tomlin and his 2019 Steelers. Can they do as the late coach Darryl Drake said, and “shut out the noise”? They seemed to have stayed on track so far this preseason, but the regular season, when the games count, is an entirely different bag of worms.
You could be the biggest Tomlin hater in all of Steelers Nation, but if he leads the team to a Super Bowl victory, even the anti-Steelers crowd will have to tip their hat to the head coach as a sign of respect for a job well done.