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Old 01-29-2007, 09:10 AM   #1
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Default Peter King on Tomlin Hire

peter king kicks off this weeks MMQB on the right note:


Prodigal sons
Teams turn to young coaches for new energy
Posted: Monday January 29, 2007 8:56AM; Updated: Monday January 29, 2007 9:54AM

Myron Cope, the great Pittsburgh writer and voice of the Steelers, used to collect tidbits for his Pittsburgh radio talk show. "Shirtpocket notes,'' he'd call them. When someone told him a good nugget for his show, he'd pull an index card out of his pocket, write it down, and there you have it -- Cope would have a show.

In honor of Cope, who's in retirement in Pittsburgh and is one of my favorite football people of all time, here's a busy week of shirtpocket notes I collected:

ITEM: The Steelers acted boldly, and correctly, by picking Mike Tomlin as their new coach. You can question how Pittsburgh ran its search, which resulted in the naming of Tomlin, the unknown Minnesota defensive coordinator, as coach last week over Russ Grimm, the incumbent offensive line coach and money pick. My understanding is this is how this weird story fleshed out:

The Steelers negotiated with agents for both men, apparently figuring if one of them had some outrageous demands, they'd go with the other. But neither was tough to do a deal with. In fact, it was a near-photo finish, particularly after a very strong second interview by Grimm.

But Dan Rooney, whose gut feeling about coaches (Chuck Noll in 1969, Bill Cowher in 1992) has proved brilliant, thought he saw something special in Tomlin. Something dynamic, with a toughness belying his age (34), with the ability to shake up some on the team who'd gotten semi-comfortable under Cowher. Something charismatic, too. And since the Steelers are the most patient team in the NFL with coaches, clearly willing to give young coaches more rope than any other team, they decided: Why not go with the guy we think has the better upside?

With all due respect to Grimm, who I think is a terrific mentor and communicates as well with players as almost anyone I know, you have to give Rooney the benefit of the doubt here. No one has picked coaches better than Rooney, and since this could be his last hire, he had to go with his gut.

By the way, I don't believe anyone in the organization ever said to Grimm, "The job is yours.'' They just don't operate that way. I think because the contract was being negotiated, Grimm got the idea he must be the guy.
ITEM: Watch the HBO Inside the NFL show on Wednesday if you want to see Cowher in his element again. Not sure exactly how the piece is going to turn out, but I spent last Wednesday in Raleigh, N.C. with Cowher, breaking down his view of the big factors in Super Bowl XLI on a big plasma TV. "Modern technology,'' he said at one point, shaking his head. "I'm blown away by it.'' Here's why.

Cowher gave us five factors, such as the major impact of Colts tight end Dallas Clark and why he thinks Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs, the athletic Bears linebackers, will be better-suited to play Clark than anyone so far in the playoffs. (Don't want to give everything away.) Then crack producer Abtin Motia got EA Sports, makers of the Madden game, to literally invent the Colts and Bears going at it, with the results of the plays the way Cowher designed them. It's actually pretty unbelievable.

"Can you imagine,'' I said to Cowher during our taping, "if something happens in the game the exact way you drew it up? Talk about fiction imitation reality.'' Cowher's really in his element here. Make sure you watch the piece. (Shameless promotion: 10 p.m. Eastern on Wednesday, with several subsequent airings.)

ITEM: I would not be surprised to see Cowher sit out two years, not just one, from coaching. It's just a feeling I got. He's really enjoying life in Raleigh, as a parent and as a fan of his daughters' basketball teams. Two attend Princeton; a third, Lauren, is a high school junior in Raleigh. He told me he'd really like to be at home with his wife, Kaye, and with Lauren for her last two years of high school. In fact, when he left me, he hustled over to her school for a parent-teacher conference.

"I'm loving it,'' he said. "I don't wake up at 3 in the morning anymore to make notes to myself about something I wanted to make sure I remembered. But it's too early to say what I'm going to do. I just got into this.''

No red lines in Cowher's eyes. No stress. He looks good. I'll tell you one thing: No question in my mind the guy can do TV, and would do it well as an analyst, if that's what he chooses.
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Old 01-29-2007, 09:17 AM   #2

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Default Re: Peter King on Tomlin Hire

good read tony.... peter king, for some reason, is a guy who i enjoy reading his opinion on his MMQB column on si.com.

you know he is a huge Boston guy....so he probably likes the Pats.....Well, I never said he was perfect.
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Old 01-29-2007, 09:24 AM   #3
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Default Re: Peter King on Tomlin Hire

Good article TH. Thanks.

I've always liked King for the most part. I don't believe he's part of that infamous "Steelers media conspriracy" organization established in 1980 to overthrow the Rooney's and the Steeler Regime as a whole.

As for Cowher, I wouldn't be surprised if he took two years off. Take this season off, work his way into some TV the year after. Why not? I would have to believe that he will still get top dollar whenever he decides to come back to the NFL. Who knows though? I've heard some sports "experts" state that there is no way Cowher can stay off a football field. Other's have stated he's now Mr. Mom. While I personally don't care what he does, I will keep an eye out for him and see what he's up to from time to time. If anything, I would look forward to him doing some tv in the future. He would be a refreshing personality in a time when some of these moron's on Sunday morning football show's actually hold a job.

Last edited by 83-Steelers-43; 01-29-2007 at 09:28 AM.
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Old 01-29-2007, 09:29 AM   #4

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Default Re: Peter King on Tomlin Hire

agree whole heartedly 83/43.....that tv money is the easiest money of all
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Old 01-29-2007, 09:29 AM   #5
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Default Re: Peter King on Tomlin Hire

Good read. Sounds like old Bill is really enjoying the time off.
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Old 01-29-2007, 09:29 AM   #6
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Default Re: Peter King on Tomlin Hire

King actually has written a number of favorable Steelers pieces on MMQB over the years and was a big Bettis fan during Jerome's playing days.

His comment about Cowher being a potential game analyst seems to me like too much work with game prep & travel for Bill - I do not think there is room on the HBO Insde The NFL show for Cowher and I do not think NBC will dump Sharpe and bring in Cowher since they would be accused of having too many former Steelers on the show.

So it may be that Parcells and Cowher end up joining the cast of thousands at ESPN.
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Old 01-29-2007, 09:45 AM   #7
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Default Re: Peter King on Tomlin Hire

Hey good read
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Old 01-29-2007, 10:13 AM   #8
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Default Re: Peter King on Tomlin Hire

I can't stand King but finally, he has something good to read, something with a little sustance and not just over-hyped opinion about how he thinks he's some football knowing god.

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Old 01-29-2007, 10:14 AM   #9
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Default Re: Peter King on Tomlin Hire

Thanks for posting this Tony. I like King - he does come across sometimes as having a strong NE bias, but he did try to make a case one year for Carnell Lake to be named NFL MVP, so he can't be that bad..
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Old 01-29-2007, 11:48 AM   #10
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Default Re: Peter King on Tomlin Hire

Cool article, thanks.
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