Sports Outside the Beltway

Reaction to the Tomlin Hire

With the hiring of Mike Tomlin, it seems that a large percentage of Steelers fans have gone nuts.

Blog ‘N Gold the Post-Gazette’s Steelers blog, has collected an obscene amount of fan reaction. Some of it is positive, some is “wait and see”, some is “trust the Rooneys”, and then you have the “I wanted Russ Grimm” haters.

The haters aren’t happy, not one bit. They say things like this:

The Rooneys need to sell the team and move because they have just destroyed the thing every Steeler fan holds sacred. Russ Grim was the obvious choice, a native, a real football player. Russ did not play for some Bill and Mary School that hasn’t even successful at the IAA level. This Tomlin has never been in the trenches, he wasn’t good enough to make it to the next level. He was an AVERAGE PLAYER AND HAS BEEN AN AVERAGE COACH FOR LOSING TEAMS. Russ on the other hand was good enough to play in the trenches at the next level and knows what it takes to be a HALL OF FAMER. I think the Rooneys need to be checked in the head. I don’t want to hear the sob sorry about this guy either about he is just like Bill Cowher, he’s not Cowher played in the NFL. Good Luck Ruineys, my tickets are for sale.

This is fairly representative. Here’s a few things that this guy, Matt, forgets:
1. Cowher hadn’t had much experience before his hire.
2. Cowher was an average football player, and coached under Marty Shottenheimer, who’s playoff “success” has been well documented.
3. Cowher wasn’t an internal hire. He was from outside of the organization, apparently at a time when Mean Joe Greene, the penultimate Steeler, was available. Looking back, I think that went well.

I love the comments that say “they should have gone from within. That’s what Noll would have done.” These comments ignore the fact that Noll didn’t do that (well, the management above Noll didn’t do that). The Rooneys went with Cowher over internal assistants.

The assumption that is prevalent among the haters is “why are we shaking up a Super Bowl caliber team?” I disagree with the premise. As things stand right now, the Steelers aren’t a Super Bowl caliber team. They won last year, but this was because they got slightly lucky and they had a drive, a motivating force in Jerome Bettis. Sure, he wasn’t the player he once was, but he pushed that team to the big game with his motivation. Without him, and with Cowher wavering, the Steelers lost that edge. A new coach there for the long haul, with something to prove, should provide a spark, especially if the team comes to respect him.

Tomlin is an unknown. However, so is Ken Whisenhunt and Russ Grimm. I personally wasn’t inclined to reward anyone from our offensive unit with this job – they offense went backward this year. Someone from the defense, maybe, but not the offense. The only gripe I have is them passing over Rivera so quickly, but perhaps they had made up their minds after their initial investigation of him, and interviewing him again wasn’t going to change anything. I say give the new guy a chance, and I am looking forward to next season.

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