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Steelers fans are allowed to dislike Mike Tomlin, but do it for the right reasons

After Terry Bradshaw recently ripped the Pittsburgh Steelers head coach nationally, calling him a “cheerleader”, it reignites the Tomlin haters among Steeler Nation.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Indianapolis Colts Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Let me start by saying I like Mike Tomlin. I have been a Pittsburgh Steelers fan as long as I can remember, and the two coaches I’ve primarily lived through have been tremendous. Both great in their own ways, but I realize there is a natural rift in the Steelers global fan base with those who long for Bill Cowher, and those who accept and enjoy Mike Tomlin.

Whichever camp you reside, let it be known I realize Tomlin has his issues, but then again so does every coach — including former head coach Bill Cowher.

This debate has been ongoing for years, and was reignited when Steelers Hall of Fame quarterback Terry Bradshaw went on television and said Tomlin wasn’t a good coach, calling him a “cheerleader”.

Watch it for yourself:

Look, there are those who will always hate Mike Tomlin, and that is okay. Some are so passionate that all the statistics in the world wouldn’t change their minds, and to change those people’s minds isn’t the intent of this article. Rather, the intent of this article is to inform those who can’t stand Mike Tomlin, to do it for the right reasons.

I feel the easiest way to accomplish this task is to give a simple Do and Don’t list...

DO dislike Tomlin for...

  • Poor losses to sub-par teams
  • Questionable in-game decisions
  • Several years of poor draft classes
  • Poor clock management
  • Poor playoff record

DON’T dislike Tomlin for...

  • Winning with “Bill Cowher’s” team
  • Showing bravado on the sideline
  • Being a ‘player’s coach’
  • Being a man of color
  • Having a future Hall of Fame quarterback on the roster

These are just the nuts and bolts of the ongoing debate, but the fact remains there are too many people who despise Tomlin for all the wrong reasons. Sadly, many don’t like Tomlin because of his race. Others don’t like him because he doesn’t “yell” at his players on the sideline. Some can’t stand him because they say without Ben Roethlisberger, he is nothing.

As foolish as many of those reasons may sound, it is the truth. Just check social media to see some of the venom being slung around like it were candy being given out on Halloween.

However, as many of these arguments are based on opinion — winning with Cowher’s players, blaming poor losses solely on the coaching staff and not any blame on the players — the fact is Tomlin has won. The fastest coach in team history to 100 wins, and counting.

I always ask myself, if Mike Tomlin were to decide to leave, or was forced to leave, which head coach would I want instead of him? Bill Belichick’s resume speaks for itself, but other than that I can’t think of too many. Pete Carroll is almost an identical form of Tomlin, just older and every bit as arrogant. Mike McCarthy hasn’t proven to be the genius everyone thought he was after winning Super Bowl 45.

Regardless of where you stand on this topic, the “Steelers Way”, which is talked about so often, is based on winning.


Winning football games, and Mike Tomlin does that. Does he have his warts? Absolutely, but which coach doesn’t?

Be happy you are a Steelers fan. Three coaches since 1969 speaks for itself. The Rooney family has built the most successful organization in the Super Bowl era on one thing — consistency. With that said, they won’t be getting rid of Tomlin anytime soon. So, sit back and enjoy the ride, whether you like the head coach or not. After all, we root for the Steelers, not specifically Mike Tomlin.