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mesaSteeler
01-26-2009, 10:22 PM
Snap Judgments: Tomlin's return, Kurt's and Big Ben's sad memories
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/don_banks/01/26/snap.judgments.ap/?eref=sircrc

Ben Roethlisberger is determined to play better than in his first Super Bowl

TAMPA, Fla. -- Musings, observations and the occasional insight as we kick off our coverage of this year's football hype-fest known as Super Bowl XLIII ...

Dressed nattily right down to his cream-colored pocket square, Mike Tomlin made his triumphant return to Tampa on Monday, and I'm convinced that the ex-Bucs assistant coach is viewed here as the one who got away. The Glazer family will never admit it at this point of course, but you can't tell me that Tampa Bay ownership doesn't wish it had Tomlin on hand and in line to replace the recently fired Jon Gruden, rather than Raheem Morris, who some have likened to a younger version of the Steelers second-year head coach.

I know you can't re-write history and all that, but Tomlin coming back to Tampa with the distinction of having reached the Super Bowl in just his second season as a head coach has to be a bit of a tough pill for the Bucs to swallow. Tomlin was Tampa Bay's defensive backs coach from 2001-2005, serving in both TonyDungy's final season and Gruden's first four with the Bucs.

Three years later, here the Bucs are having started over on the coaching front, giving Morris the surprising elevation from defensive backs coach to defensive coordinator, to head coach, all the span of a few weeks. So it's maybe not the best time to be reminded that Tomlin was right under the Bucs' noses, but wasn't going to rise any further in their organization with Gruden and longtime defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin around.

But in hiring Morris, the Bucs seem to be saying they're determined to not make the same mistake again and let another good young coaching candidate get away. The jury is obviously still out as to whether the 32-year-old Morris will indeed be Tomlin-esque with his first NFL head coaching opportunity, but that's clearly the hope. The Bucs think he's bright, relates well to today's NFL player, and will be a quick study when it comes to developing his leadership skills.

If their bet pays off, maybe it's Morris who some day opens a Super Bowl head coaching news conference of his own, the way Tomlin did on Monday in what once was his own NFL backyard.

That said, I'm wondering what the Glazers thought when the 37-year-old Tomlin used his Super Bowl platform on Monday to kind of shoot down the notion that younger head coaches are needed to relate to today's professional athlete. He wasn't targeting Morris alone with his sentiments, but rather the people who might misguidedly let youth play too important a role in the hiring process.

"I think that relationships with players are personality things and not age things,'' Tomlin said. "I think it's in vogue right now to talk about the youth of coaches being able to relate to today's athlete and so forth. But I don't know if I buy into the concept that today's athletes are any different than they were from 20-30-40 years ago.

"I'm a traditionalist in that way. I think people who have a way with people, and communicate with people, and teach people, and convey messages to people, they can do it at 35, 45, 55 or even 71, as is the case with (Steelers defensive coordinator) Dick LeBeau. I think it's a personality thing and not an age thing.''

Smart guy, Tomlin, who somehow has already managed to cogently make the case that age doesn't matter from both possible perspectives in his young career.

When one local area reporter prefaced a question to Tomlin by saying Morris recently noted that he can't wait to pick Tomlin's brain this week while the Steelers are in Tampa, we got a flash of the all-business approach of Pittsburgh's head coach.

"He's not going to get much opportunity to pick my brain this week,'' Tomlin said, without even cracking a smile. "I can promise you that.''

The most interesting thing I heard on Monday was that Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner still can't get over losing the Super Bowl seven years ago, when his mighty Rams were upset by those plucky Patriots in New Orleans.

I asked Warner the question of whether losing the Super Bowl hurts more than winning it feels good, and during his response, I could almost still see the pain in his eyes from that 20-17 last-second loss in Super Bowl XXXVI.

"There's probably no game I think about more than the Super Bowl I lost,'' Warner said. "As great as it was to win the Super Bowl (in 2000), maybe (it hurt) more so in that game, because we were the team that was supposed to win. We were the team that was favored, and I really felt like in that situation that I missed an opportunity. An opportunity to do something really special.

"I would have been in a situation where I would have won two Super Bowls, instead of one, and that's a special group to be in. So it really has (hurt). Over the course of that time I haven't thought of another game as much as that one.''

But this week, Warner and his Steelers counterpart, Ben Roethlisberger, both have the opportunity to become just the 10th quarterback to win their second ring. I asked him if that will finally salve the wound of Super Bowl XXXVI?

"I don't know if I'll ever forget that,'' he said. "I think it's something that sticks with you and it'll probably stick with me a lifetime. But, yeah, it'd be much nicer to have two rings than one. That's going to be a driving force throughout the week. You're here, you want to win.''

I thought Warner sounded downcast about his losing Super Bowl experience, but Roethlisberger isn't really all that much more upbeat about his own Super Bowl history, and he won in his only appearance.

Roethlisberger can't quite forgive himself for going 9 of 21 for 123 yards and two interceptions in Pittsburgh's 21-10 conquest of Seattle in Super Bowl XL in Detroit three years ago. His 22.6 passer rating that game was the lowest ever for a Super Bowl-winning quarterback.

"Man, I played really bad, and that kind of eats at you,'' said Roethlisberger in his first comments of Super Bowl week. "I do want to play better than I did. The first time, my play didn't help the team win. It almost helped us lose it. This time, I'm not going to say it's all on my shoulders, but if I turn the ball over and play poorly, it's not going to help our offense, and it's not going to win this game. ''

Call me crazy, but I disagree. I think this Steelers defense is even better than the 2005 version, and thus Pittsburgh and Roethlisberger could probably play another so-so game offensively and still come away with their second ring in four years. Stands to reason, right?

Roethlisberger admits he was nervous throughout Super Bowl XL, which is a very rare acknowledgement from any athlete. You don't hear that much from big-time stars who are used to performing under the glare of the national spotlight.

"That was the first time I stayed nervous for an entire game,'' he said. "I expect it to be different this time. I'm going to treat it like it might be my last. I've been here before and I kind of understand what went right and what went wrong last time.''

Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt started off his press briefing by noting Tampa's cut-it-with-a-knife humidity.

"It's a little bit muggy out here,'' he said. Can't argue that. Sticky was the name of the game on Monday afternoon. It's Arizona where they get you with the "Yeah, but it's a dry heat'' line. Definitely not here.

I keep going back and forth on who would win between the 2002 Bucs, who won the Super Bowl with Tomlin serving as Tampa Bay's defensive backs coach, and the 2005 Steelers, who won the Super Bowl with Whisenhunt in role as Pittsburgh's offensive coordinator.

I think I'd go with Tampa Bay, based on the strength of its defense. Funny, but somehow that makes me lean toward Pittsburgh this week.

I have no idea where he's going to sit at that over-crowded desk of theirs, but I kid you not, NBC announced Monday that Patriots safety Rodney Harrison will join the network's Super Bowl pre-game show coverage.

Harrison will be there just in case Tony Dungy, Mike Holmgren, Matt Millen, Bob Costas, Cris Collinsworth, Tiki Barber, Jerome Bettis, Dan Patrick, Keith Olbermann and some guy named Peter King run out of things to say.

mesaSteeler
01-26-2009, 10:23 PM
• Even on the Monday of Super Bowl week, the Steelers fans are already in town. I never cease to be amazed at Steelers Nation. They travel, they're vocal, and they own absolutely nothing but clothes in a black-and-gold color scheme. They were outside the tent the league constructed to hold the Steelers news conferences at the team hotel, hooting and hollering for their guys, and drowning out Mike Tomlin's answers to reporter's questions.

And there are still six days to go before game day.

• They say the Super Bowl party scene will be the pits this year and I believe it with the economy in the tank. But the strait-laced Warner, of all people, had some advice for the party goers out there.

"The one thing that I know is when you're able to put one of those (Super Bowl) rings on your finger, that means access to a lot of parties in the future,'' said Warner, slipping into his best Ryan Seacrest. "You don't have to go and enjoy them all this week. You can sit back and do what you came here to do, and then you can enjoy all the parties for the rest of your life, because you'll have an in at that point.''

So fame helps you get into parties? Is that how it works? Very helpful. Thanks, Kurt.

• Tomlin told the media that his team this week is going to "embrace all that comes with being in the Super Bowl,'' adding that the Steelers "are not coming down here to have the mentality that we are going to be resistant of the obligations that we have, and these opportunities to visit with the media.''

That settles it. Bill Belichick and the Patriots definitely aren't representing the AFC again this year at the Super Bowl.

"There is going to be joyful lifting for us in terms of some of the tasks we have to do to go with this football game,'' Tomlin said.

Joyful lifting. I don't even know exactly what that means, but I'm pretty sure the "lifting'' might just get a little tiresome by week's end.

Dodt
01-26-2009, 11:21 PM
great read thanks for posting it .

UltimateFootballNetwork
01-27-2009, 01:37 AM
Curious if Kurt Warner blames god for losing the Super Bowl since he gives god all the credit when he wins. Seriously.

IAWarnerFan
01-27-2009, 01:47 AM
Pats cheated? :noidea:

tony hipchest
01-27-2009, 02:10 AM
• I keep going back and forth on who would win between the 2002 Bucs, who won the Super Bowl with Tomlin serving as Tampa Bay's defensive backs coach, and the 2005 Steelers, who won the Super Bowl with Whisenhunt in role as Pittsburgh's offensive coordinator.

I think I'd go with Tampa Bay, based on the strength of its defense. Funny, but somehow that makes me lean toward Pittsburgh this week.

why imagine, when you can just review the tape?

warren sapp skips (waltzes) his fat ass through the steelers pre-game warm ups.

kordell stewart cries.

steelers promptly kicks the bucs ass in primetime (in their house).

lee flowers declares them as "paper champions" (granted, that comment woke the bucs up and inspired them to actually win something that season).

markymarc
01-27-2009, 07:55 AM
Great read and thanks for posting that article Mesa. By the way, I am still trying to figure out what Tomlin means by "joyful lifting" :chuckle:

SteelCityMom
01-27-2009, 08:59 AM
Pats cheated? :noidea:

Hahaha! That will forever be the consistent thing that any Steelers fan and any fan of any team not named the Pats can agree on. It's like the common denominator of football lol.

HometownGal
01-27-2009, 09:43 AM
Curious if Kurt Warner blames god for losing the Super Bowl since he gives god all the credit when he wins. Seriously.

:jawdrop: :wink02::toofunny:

T&B fan
01-27-2009, 12:19 PM
Quote:Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt started off his press briefing by noting Tampa's cut-it-with-a-knife humidity.

"It's a little bit muggy out here,'' he said.Quote:

hahha the wether its not in a dome like Warner likes it ... hope it snows , come on globle cooling ..:wink02:


Quote:Even on the Monday of Super Bowl week, the Steelers fans are already in town. I never cease to be amazed at Steelers Nation. They travel, they're vocal, and they own absolutely nothing but clothes in a black-and-gold color scheme. They were outside the tent the league constructed to hold the Steelers news conferences at the team hotel, hooting and hollering for their guys, and drowning out Mike Tomlin's answers to reporter's questions.

And there are still six days to go before game Quote:

yup Tampa's going to look like Pittsburgh moved to the south .. black and gold :sign01::cheers: