View Full Version : Game ball for LeBeau Hell no...

09-09-2007, 10:49 PM
...Dick left the locker room today with a nice shiny Rolex from the Defense for his birthday.....Gotta love Coach LeBeau the guy looks GREAT for 70

Tomlin pleased to be a mere subplot

By Mike Prisuta
Sunday, September 9, 2007

Mike Tomlin left town with a souvenir, but he did so grudgingly.

"They gave me a game ball in there," Tomlin admitted after exiting the visiting locker room following the Steelers' oh-so-easy, 34-7 victory Sunday afternoon at Cleveland Browns Stadium. "I tried to give it to (defensive coordinator) Dick LeBeau for his birthday, but he wouldn't take it.

"I guess I'm taking it home."

LeBeau turned 70 yesterday and left with a new Rolex watch, which was presented to him by the defensive players.

There was also an acknowledgement of the occasion scribbled onto the greaseboard in the Steelers' locker room: "Happy Birthday Coach Dad, The Next 70 Will Be Even Better."

Tomlin, thus, found himself upstaged by a coach who's twice his age.

There was no Gatorade shower at the end, no carrying Tomlin off the field.

That's the way Tomlin had wanted it all along.

"This isn't my story," he said.

Any emotions the Steelers' first-year head coach might have been feeling relative to his leading a team for the first time in a game that counts will remain private.

That's how Tomlin intends to handle himself while running the Steelers.

He wasn't about to alter his approach after beating Cleveland.

"I don't play the game, I manage it," Tomlin said. "In order to do that, you have to have a little clarity of thought."

Lest you think he's just being coy for the media, consider the observation of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who maintained that as far as Tomlin is concerned, what you see is what you get.

"He doesn't really get rah-rah, spitting, throwing stuff, all that," Roethlisberger said. "He's pretty calm and cool.

"He's that way on the sideline, which is great. He's calm when he's talking to you. You don't have to worry about getting yelled at or spit on, or stuff thrown at you."

Nice to see that former head coach Bill Cowher, while gone, hasn't been forgotten.

As for Tomlin, he let his guard down -- briefly -- only after his postgame media session.

In the visiting locker room and in the presence of Steelers chairman Dan Rooney and Steelers president Art Rooney, Tomlin beamed momentarily while shaking hands and accepting congratulations.

"We're plus-.500 in the series," Tomlin said.

They are, having improved to 56-55 all-time against the Browns, including postseason meetings.

They're likely to be two games over .500 after this season's rematch Nov. 11, and should continue to build on their series lead.

The Browns are in such a state of disarray that it's apparently going to take a team more capable of offering a legitimate challenge to get Tomlin's blood boiling and his emotions flowing, at least to the point where they're detectable to the outside observer.

In that respect, Tomlin's debut game really was business as usual, not that the man who hired him had any doubts.

"Honestly, I had total confidence in him and he came through," Dan Rooney said. "He did just what I expected him to do. He handled it so well.

"He just handles things as they come up. He does what he has to do."


09-09-2007, 11:23 PM
Nice article.... Thanks.

09-10-2007, 12:12 AM
More on Coach Dad

Steelers' defense presents 'Coach Dad' a timely performance against the Browns
D-lightful birthday giftWe love the guy to death. -- James Farrior, on Dick LeBeau''
Monday, September 10, 2007
By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

CLEVELAND -- Dick LeBeau really liked the birthday presents his defensive players gave him Saturday night at a team meeting at the hotel. But he might have liked the one he received on his 70th birthday better -- a near-flawless performance by the Steelers' defense.

It was difficult to tell which was more shiny and spectacular-looking yesterday after the Steelers beat up on the Cleveland Browns, 34-7 -- the execution of the defense, which produced six sacks, two interceptions and recovered three fumbles; or the gold-and-silver Rolex watch LeBeau wore on his left wrist as he stood in a corner of the Steelers' locker room.

"It doesn't belong on me," LeBeau said of the watch, presented to him by his defensive players. "Nonetheless, I'm not turning it in."

Nor is LeBeau going to concede the defensive performance should perhaps carry an asterisk, signifying it was turned in against the Browns who, despite a number of offseason moves and top draft choices, still look like, well, the Browns.

The Steelers started from the first defensive series, when defensive end Aaron Smith posted a sack from a new LeBeau wrinkle that included four down linemen in the dime defense, and never really stopped until cornerback Ike Taylor intercepted a Derek Anderson pass in the fourth quarter.

"I think we did a good job of making them look bad," said inside linebacker James Farrior, who had a sack and forced a fumble. "It's kind of tough when a lot of different guys are coming at you."

Indeed, LeBeau had so many different players collapsing the pocket that even Taylor, who rarely blitzes, managed one of the six sacks. By the end of the game, the only thing Anderson and starting quarterback Charlie Frye managed to accomplish was getting most of the 73,089 in attendance to chant for rookie quarterback Brady Quinn, one of the Browns' No. 1 draft choices.

"We were flying around, stopping the run, hitting them, making them one-dimensional," inside linebacker Larry Foote said. "But that's the question -- you never know early in the season if we're that good or they looked that bad. Five weeks from now, we'll probably know the answer."

To be sure, the Browns could do little right against the Steelers' defense. Frye completed 4 of 10 passes for 34 yards, was sacked four times and threw one interception before he was replaced.

Running back Jamal Lewis, who was signed as an unrestricted free agent from the Baltimore Ravens, didn't have a run longer than 7 yards and finished with 35 yards on 11 carries.

That extended the Steelers' streak of not allowing a 100-yard rusher to 26 games in a row, counting playoffs.

What's more, the Browns' only touchdown -- a 1-yard pass from Anderson to fullback Lawrence Vickers -- came just six plays after Farrior dropped an interception that hit him right in the stomach.

"I don't know if we baffled them or not," outside linebacker Clark Haggans said. "I know we just executed all the calls coach LeBeau made. The way he was calling the game, if coach LeBeau said run to the top of the stadium and put up a Steelers flag, we were going to do that."

Such is the love and respect the defensive players have for the man they affectionately refer to as "Coach Dad."

That was the name that was written on the cake that all the players and coaches presented to LeBeau at a team meeting the night before the game. They also presented him with a framed poster of "'Twas the Night Before Christmas," the poem LeBeau recites by memory to the players every year around Christmas. All the players autographed the poster.

When the defensive players had LeBeau alone, they presented him with the Rolex watch they all chipped in to purchase.

"He's a special man," defensive end Aaron Smith said.

"It was a good night," Farrior said. "We love the guy to death."

And it was probably a better afternoon for LeBeau, who turned down the final present he was offered after the victory -- the game ball the players presented to coach Mike Tomlin for winning his NFL debut.

"I tried to give it to Dick LeBeau for his birthday, but he wouldn't take it," Tomlin said. "I guess I'm taking it home."

LeBeau already received it


Galax Steeler
09-10-2007, 03:34 AM
sound to me like labeau wanted tomlin to have it shows what kind of man lebeau is.

09-10-2007, 03:40 AM
Nice read..and the perfect present for a man who represents so much of what the Steelers organization is all about....If "Dad" doesnt have a Bust in Canton someday it will be a travesty.

tony hipchest
09-10-2007, 08:54 AM
tomlins 1st move as head coach will probably always be his best move. there wouldve been mutiny in the locker room had he not retained lebeau. that the players openly call him coach dad, speaks volumes. i like what haggans had to say:

The way he was calling the game, if coach LeBeau said run to the top of the stadium and put up a Steelers flag, we were going to do that."

Atlanta Dan
09-10-2007, 09:04 AM
tomlins 1st move as head coach will probably always be his best move. there wouldve been mutiny in the locker room had he not retained lebeau. that the players openly call him coach dad, speaks volumes. i like what haggans had to say:

IMO the Rooneys had a clear understanding with Tomlin that LeBeau would not leave in 2007 if Tomlin was hired. They of course did not tell Tomlin he needed to keep LeBeau (that is the Al Davis style) but Tomlin presumably indicated he would be amenable to retaining LeBeau to maintain some continuity for a veteran team.

I agree that the reason you have not had defensive issues such as those raised by Faneca and Hines when the hiring of Tomlin was announced are due to LeBeau remaining.

09-10-2007, 09:31 AM
What great reads - thank you! :smile:

Just goes to show how well respected and genuinely loved Coach Lebeau is by the team and the organization as a whole. I have always had the highest degree of respect for this man who I feel is a true defensive genius and the best DC in the NFL. I agree with LLT - it would be a travesty if Coach Lebeau isn't enshrined in Canton.

Happy belated birthday Dick! :tt02:

09-10-2007, 09:51 AM
I love how Tomlin shares the spot light from the victory with the team. This guy is good for Steeltown.

09-10-2007, 12:09 PM
Happy birthday coach dad!!!

Great read guys, thanks!

09-10-2007, 06:18 PM
Nice artical and yeah if I didn't know LeBeau was 70 I couldn't guess it. He looks good for his age.

09-10-2007, 07:47 PM
Happy Birthday Coach Lebeau! It will be a sad day when he retires.

09-10-2007, 11:20 PM

I just heard recently that his mother is well into her 90's and they say she's still going strong so what another 20 years in the B&G for Coach Dad? I'm all for that!

This article sounds to me that Cowher may have been a bit of a "control freak" when it came to cutting loose the defense?

Happy father's day: Steelers' defense off to a good start
By The Associated Press
Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Not many NFL players refer to their coach as Dad, yet that is what defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau is called in the Pittsburgh Steelers' locker room.

Coach Dad, to be precise.

So when the Steelers realized LeBeau's 70th birthday fell on the day of their season opener Sunday in Cleveland, his players decided to do something special - even more special than those LeBeau throwback uniforms they wore to the Pro Football Hall of Fame last month to lobby for the former Detroit Lions defensive back's induction.

First, they presented him with a gold Rolex watch at their pregame meeting Saturday night. Then they gave him exactly the kind of performance he wanted to start the season, one featuring six sacks, five turnovers and 46 yards rushing allowed in a 34-7 rout of the Browns.

Happy birthday? It was more like Happy Father's Day.

"We love that guy to death. We'd do anything for him," defensive captain James Farrior s aid.

Linebacker Clark Haggans took the analogy further, saying that if LeBeau had asked them to take a Steelers flag and plant it atop Browns Stadium, his players would have done so willingly.

There's a reason for all this loyalty, besides LeBeau's ability to teach and motivate without resorting to spittle-filled tirades. The Steelers love LeBeau's blitz-heavy, come-from-all-angles defense that was played such a decisive role in the 15-1 season of three years ago and the Super Bowl championship of two seasons ago.

They also consider last season's 8-8 record to be nothing more than an anomaly, one in which Ben Roethlisberger's mishaps and the uncertainty surrounding coach Bill Cowher's status proved overly distracting. To them, their 6-2 finish was more representative of their overall strength.

And while new coach Mike Tomlin also was a defensive coordinator before becoming a head coach, just like Cowher was, it already seems Tomlin is allowing LeBeau to dig deeper into his bag of tricks than Cowher did.

"We gave them some different looks, different angles and really got after them," defensive end Aaron Smith said.

LeBeau showed more variations of the Steelers' traditional 3-4 line than in the past, at times rotating two different three-man line combinations.

He also played some 4-3 with four large bodies stacking the line of scrimmage, rather than flanking his three-man line with two faster, standup linebackers. LeBeau used defensive ends Smith and Brett Keisel and nose tackles Casey Hampton and Chris Hoke in that alignment.

"We wanted to get our big guys on the edge and rush their people," Tomlin said.

The Steelers came from so many different directions, cornerback Ike Taylor had one of their six sacks even though he rarely blitzes. They also used, at times, the Tomlin-preferred cover-2 defense that drops the safeties in zone coverage downfield.

"Up front, we played great," safety Rya n Clark said. "We made them one-dimensional and made them throw the ball. We got them out of their comfort zone."

Former Pro Bowl linebacker Joey Porter, the Steelers defense's most visible personality and the on-field leader for years, is now in Miami. The rest of the defense from that Super Bowl team is largely intact, and LeBeau seems to dream up something new, something different every season.

"We pretty much have the same philosophy and mentality," Keisel said. "There are some changes in the coaching staff and in some of the things we do, but it's pretty much the same team."

A favorable schedule also might help the Steelers get off to the fast start that eluded them in their post-Super Bowl season a year ago, when they won their opener but dropped six of their next seven.

They have Buffalo and San Francisco at home the next two weeks, games they will be favored to win. After that, it's a Sept. 30 trip to Arizona to meet up with former assistant c oaches Ken Whisenhunt and Russ Grimm.

They return home to face Seattle in an Oct. 7 rematch of the February 2006 Super Bowl, then have a week off before the schedule toughens with Denver and Cincinnati on the road.

If the opener is any indicator, this Steelers team doesn't have to worry about being effectively eliminated from the playoffs by midseason.

"It's what I've been saying, the 2007 season starts with us," Keisel said, referring to the defense. "It was a good start."