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Mike Tomlin: Pittsburgh Steelers head coach and wordsmith

Sure, Mike Tomlin is best known as the head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers, but he is also becoming well-known for his creative and entertaining use of language.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
  • It is what it is
  • Be where you're at
  • Obviously
  • We accept that
  • The standard is the standard
  • Iron sharpens iron
  • Globally speaking

Steelers fans have long enjoyed the unique communication style of Mike Tomlin and the way he uses combinations of words to mean less than the sum of their parts (e.g. "It is what it is."). Now, his "Tomlinisms" have generated attention on a larger scale with ESPN's Jeremy Fowler devoting a whole article to the communication style of Mike "Obviously" Tomlin.

While Tomlin uses words sparingly during his interactions with the media and sticks with an increasingly familiar and predictable list of phrases and words, on the field with his players he has a different way of communicating. According to Jeremy Fowler, Tomlin jokingly called CB B.W. Webb "Waffle House" since he was wearing apparel bearing the name of his favorite restaurant.

Earlier in the week, Tomlin shouted to safety Mike Mitchell, caught in the middle of adjusting his pads, "Mike, what are you doing naked?" He also used sarcasm with WR Eli Rogers who walked off of the field while his superstar teammate Antonio Brown continued to work out after practice was over. "Eli, 84's over there working," he said. "But you don't have to stay. Don't worry about it."

"He talks about everybody," guard David DeCastro said. "He's easy to talk to and be around, and there's definitely some back and forth, but at the same time he's still the coach and he knows where the line is."

Tomlin is known as a "player's coach", and although many find that to be a negative characteristic, Tomlin has used it to the team's advantage. The Steelers haven't had a losing season since he took over as head coach in 2007. Charlie Batch and Kendall Simmons both told me that his authoritative, and respectful, manner helped win over Cowher-era players during his first year with the team. New players like UDFA Niko Davis appreciate his simultaneous bluntness and accessibility.

In interactions with the media, Tomlin's style is definitely unique. On the practice field, however, he reveals another, more entertaining side, obviously, and we accept that. Just another reason why players love playing for Tomlin.