As a fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers I can’t speak for other NFL teams, but there have been many times when the Steelers’ fan base wants to know what their favorite team’s head coach actually does on a weekly basis.
Mike Tomlin’s background is on the defensive side of the football. He was a defensive backs coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before his lone year as a defensive coordinator of the Minnesota Vikings. The year after his year in Minnesota was the year he was hired as the Steelers head coach in 2007.
Tomlin isn’t the type of head coach who is known for play calling on either side of the ball. He isn’t the Andy Reid or Sean Payton who call plays, and have a history of succeeding in that realm.
To be fair, it isn’t Tomlin’s fault he only spent one year as a coordinator before being hired by the Steelers. Nonetheless, it is almost a weekly occurrence when you see questions floating on Steelers Twitter:
“What does Mike Tomlin actually do?”
“I know Tomlin is a motivator, but does he provide anything to this team outside of that?”
You get the picture. During Tomlin’s Tuesday press conference he was asked about where his proverbial finger prints reside within the offense of the team, considering his defensive background. He didn’t hesitate in his response.
“Whatever unit’s on the field, I’m highly involved in and responsible for.” Tomlin said.
But does Tomlin suggest plays on offense?
“Certainly. I do more than suggest. Just to be clear. At times.” Tomlin responded.
Apparently not happy with Tomlin’s previous answers, he was asked again about his willingness to step in and make a play call on offense. Tomlin reiterated how he is more than willing to do so, and not just on offense.
“Not only offensively, but defensively and special teams as well, certainly.” Tomlin answered.
Mike Tomlin, likely knowing a follow up was coming, was asked about in the Sunday night game when, given a new set of downs, the team put Derek Watt in at fullback and ran it up the gut for a touchdown.
Was that Tomlin’s call?
“I won’t peel back the curtain and talk about the division of labor.” Tomlin said. “I’m ultimately responsible for everything that we do. While at the same time, I want to give credit to all parties involved, coaches and players. We’re a collective.”
It seems silly to be asking an NFL coach, especially one who has won as many games as Tomlin has, how he impacts the team as a coach. Maybe it is true how most view Tomlin as nothing more than a proverbial cheerleader. Someone who is just a motivator of men. Clearly, Tomlin disagrees with this sentiment, but I doubt even his comments in the press conference will ever change some fans’ minds of the Steelers’ head coach.
Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 12.