Pittsburgh Steelers fans have heard it plenty throughout the years.
“Mike Tomlin is a players coach.”
For some reason, that aforementioned sentence sticks in the craw of the fan base. Maybe it’s because the thought of a players coach is someone who is soft. Maybe it’s because they want more of a disciplinarian coach? Or maybe it’s just the fact they think Tomlin should be more concerned with playoff wins than his image.
Well, to address the last statement, Tomlin’s persona is him, not an act. And that very act is the one which is responsible for players who hit free agency wanting to go to Pittsburgh to play for that very “players coach”.
Need an example of this? Look no further than recent free agent acquisition Patrick Peterson. His critique of Tomlin has been glowing so far.
“Coach, he has a different energy, a different attitude about him. He is the same every day and you can’t help but respect that.
“Coach does a great thing but starting the morning saying, ‘great morning.’ That is something I always said before I got here. Guys asked me how I am, and I always said I am doing great, I am not doing good. To have that mindset and instill it in all of the guy…some guys don’t have that gift to push grown men’s buttons and get them motivated. And not necessarily saying we all need motivation. And his motivational speeches are not really just motivation. He is giving real life facts and turning it into a football sense. That is what you have to love about Coach. He has a unique way of connecting with his players and I am happy to be on his team.”
Tomlin’s demeanor is one thing, but does it really matter? Do players actually notice?
“It goes a long way,” said Peterson. “In this business, you can’t be ordinary. You have to be supernatural at something. If you are going to be good, you are not going to last. Great players are the people who people remember. If you want to be great, if you want to be remembered, you have to have great days, not good days.”
For someone like Peterson, who has been around the block more than once in his NFL career, to speak this highly of Tomlin should speak volumes to the fan base. Will it? Probably not, but Peterson’s time in Pittsburgh thus far has been a tremendous story to follow. Everything from his desire to play for the organization, and how he views his new teammates.
It just feels like a perfect fit, from top to bottom. But will it pay dividends? That’s the ultimate question which won’t be answered until the players report to training camp at the end of July.
Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the rest of the NFL offseason.