If you’ve ever sat down on a Tuesday to watch Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin in his weekly press conference, you know the routine.
- “Good afternoon...”
- Quick recap of the last game
- Summation of the injury situation
- Make the upcoming opponent sound like the ‘85 Chicago Bears
- Talk about the challenges his team faces in the next game
- “I’ll be glad to answer any questions you might have...”
At that point it is a free-for-all from the media in regards to questions about the week that was, as well as the upcoming game.
I always say Tomlin has the ability to say it all, without saying anything. He isn’t the first coach to do something like that, but he certainly has a knack for being extremely wordy, without giving any information to the media, or the opponent.
Count me as shocked when I heard him talk about the fans, multiple times, during the course of his media setting this week. Sure, he has praised fans before, think Monday Night Football against the San Diego Chargers in 2015, but I can’t recall him referring to the fans as a potential factor in the upcoming game.
Nonetheless, here he was talking about how Heinz Field should be rocking and loud to help disrupt the New York Giants high-powered no-huddle offense.
“Man, Steeler Nation has an opportunity to be a significant contributor to our efforts this week,” Tomlin said.
“(The no-huddle) provides an opportunity for latitude, for Eli to get in the appropriate play based on what he sees,” Tomlin said. “To do that, you have to communicate via hand signals or more appropriately and importantly with verbal communications.
“If the crowd is effective, it makes it that much more difficult.”
Well, coach, challenge accepted! I’m sure the 67 thousand, or so, fans there will be pumped for the upcoming game, and hopefully the words of the head coach resonate with them throughout the game.
“At those significant moments as the game unfolds, you're able to communicate,” he said. “Hopefully, the crowd stays in the game, and hopefully, we do our job helping the crowd to stay in the game so that (the no-huddle) is not a success Sunday.”
The fans will do their job, there is no doubt about that, but the defense will certainly have their hands full. Eli Manning, Odell Beckham Jr., Victor Cruz and Sterling Shepard will provide a tough test for the Steelers’ young secondary. Artie Burns, William Gay and Ross Cockrell will have to play a solid brand of football, all while the defensive front pressuring Manning into bad decisions if they want to advance their winning streak to three games, and putting a halt to the Giants’ 6-game winning streak.
I can guarantee the crowd will be ready to go, but the team’s defense will face their stiffest test since their Week 10 game against the Dallas Cowboys.