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Old 12-25-2008, 02:28 PM   #1
mesaSteeler
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Default Mike works his magic

Mike works his magic
http://www.dailypress.com/sports/dp-...lumn?track=rss
David Teel
December 24, 2008

The NFL has more coach-of-the-year candidates than Bernie Madoff does legal problems.

Rookies such as Baltimore's John Harbaugh, Atlanta's Mike Smith and Miami's Tony Sparano cleaned up train derailments, while New England fashion plate Bill Belichick adjusted to the absence of injured quarterback Tom Brady.

Jeff Fisher's Tennessee Titans unseated the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC South, while Indy's Tony Dungy rallied his team from a 3-4 start to its seventh consecutive playoff appearance and double-digit victory total.

Tom Coughlin's New York Giants authored a spirited defense of their Super Bowl championship, closely pursued for NFC supremacy by John Fox's Carolina Panthers.

Go ahead, make the case for any of these gents, Smith and Sparano particularly. You would not be wrong.

Just don't forget Peninsula native Mike Tomlin.

Since the award usually goes to a coach who revived a dormant team, the Pittsburgh Steelers' second-year big whistle is unlikely to win. And considering the Steelers' 31-14 loss Sunday at Tennessee, that's fine.

But good luck finding anyone who steered his team with a firmer hand or through more in-season turbulence.

Start with raw performance.

The Steelers (11-4) are the only 2007 division winner to have clinched a repeat — New England and San Diego still have a chance. Yes, Baltimore was Pittsburgh's only worthy rival in an AFC North that also includes hapless Cleveland and Cincinnati, but now consider nuance.

Injuries have dogged Pittsburgh throughout the year, especially at running back, defensive back and along the offensive line — free safety Ryan Clark is the latest casualty, having re-injured his right shoulder at Tennessee. Subsequent personnel losses have turned quarterback Ben Roethlisberger into a piñata for opposing defenses — the Titans sacked him five times, as did the Giants in their late-October victory at Pittsburgh.

And speaking of opponents: The Steelers' schedule, especially of late, violates every fair labor practice imaginable.

Pittsburgh enters Sunday's regular-season finale against visiting Cleveland fresh off this stretch of games: at New England, Dallas, at Baltimore, at Tennessee. The worst record among that bunch is the Cowboys' 9-6.

The Steelers won three of those four contests. They dusted the Patriots by 23, New England's only loss in its last five outings. They stunned the Cowboys with 17 points in the final 7:14 and drove 92 yards for a last-minute, game-winning touchdown against the Ravens' voracious defense.

"The prevailing mentality was not so much that we can do it," Tomlin said of the comeback at Baltimore, "but more that we have to do it. ... That was a ridiculously tough football game."

Suffice to say, Tomlin was far less charitable Sunday.

"That's a signature performance out there, and our name is signed to it," he said sternly during his postgame news conference. "They played winning football, we didn't. It's just as simple as that. We are not going to look for excuses. They made critical plays; we made critical errors."

The breakdowns included four turnovers and a simulating-the-snap-count penalty that turned an attempted Tennessee field goal into a first-and-goal and eventual touchdown.

The victory makes the Titans (13-2) the AFC's top playoff seed and the Steelers No. 2, meaning each team enjoys a first-round bye and second-round home game. A rematch in the AFC championship game would be in Nashville.

But Pittsburgh has been equally effective on the road (6-2) as at home (5-2), another testament to players and coaches. You may also recall that the Steelers lost their playoff opener last season at home to the Jacksonville Jaguars — so forget about venue as a decisive element.

Tomlin made a rookie mistake in that game, calling for a two-point conversion far too early. But his brain cramps have been minimal.

Then the Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator, Tomlin was 34 when the Steelers hired him, making him the NFL's youngest head coach. The distinction lasted mere hours, until Oakland appointed Lane Kiffin, the son of Monte Kiffin, a mentor to Tomlin when they worked together as assistants at Tampa Bay.

Lane Kiffin lasted less than two seasons with the NFL's most dysfunctional franchise and has since resurfaced at the University of Tennessee, returning the youngest-in-the-league mantel to Tomlin.

The kid is 21-10 with two division titles in as many years. Coach of the year or not, darn wise hire.
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Old 12-25-2008, 03:43 PM   #2
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Default Re: Mike works his magic

I feel Tomlin is more than deserving as Coach of the Year, but as the author notes - he most likely won't get it. There are a lot of NFL coaches who have been miracle workers this season and God forbid the honor should go to a Pittsburgh Steelers coach - Goodell wouldn't allow it and would rather shove bamboo shoots under his nails.
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Old 12-25-2008, 06:26 PM   #3
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Default Re: Mike works his magic

I wouldn't want any other coach for the Steelers. Mike Tomlin is only 2 years into building his legacy. Considering our injuries and the toughest schedule he has done an amazing job with this team. Now he just needs to get this team ready for our playoff run.
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Old 12-26-2008, 09:19 AM   #4
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Default Re: Mike works his magic

What, no fire Tomlin threads yet. We have bashed anything or any body who is not perfect on this team all season. I want us to win the superbowl 2-0 so we can bitch all summer on the offenses inept play.
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Old 12-26-2008, 03:08 PM   #5
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I want us to win the superbowl 2-0 so we can bitch all summer on the offenses inept play.
So are you saying there are no offensive issues with this team? And the OL and Arians play calling does have a lot to do with that whether you want to admit it or not.
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Old 12-26-2008, 03:30 PM   #6
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Default Re: Mike works his magic

Coach of the Year has to go to either the Dolphins coach or the Falcons coach.

I'd even through a bone to the Wizenhunt if his team didn't completely crap the bed the last 3 weeks.
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Old 12-26-2008, 03:50 PM   #7
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So are you saying there are no offensive issues with this team? And the OL and Arians play calling does have a lot to do with that whether you want to admit it or not.
I will state how I feel about my team. I am happy with the way things are right now. We are in the playoffs, we are 11-5, and relatively healthy. In the off season I will then turn my thoughts to other issues. But in reality it makes no difference what I or you think about certain players and/or coaches. If the powers that be decide to make changes, well, We will all talk about it then. But my POV is this. We are in a good position right now and to continue to complain about Arians, Ben, Willie, Tomlin, the Weather does no one any good.
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Old 12-26-2008, 03:59 PM   #8
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I will state how I feel about my team. I am happy with the way things are right now. We are in the playoffs, we are 11-5, and relatively healthy. In the off season I will then turn my thoughts to other issues. But in reality it makes no difference what I or you think about certain players and/or coaches. If the powers that be decide to make changes, well, We will all talk about it then. But my POV is this. We are in a good position right now and to continue to complain about Arians, Ben, Willie, Tomlin, the Weather does no one any good.
I definitely agree that we are in a great position with the NFL's toughest schedule and probably ending up with a 12-4 record. Listen anything can happen in the playoffs and that includes us returning to the Super Bowl. I think with our defense and Ben playing good mistake free football we can take care of business. I also know that the OL and Arians could also end up really hurting us in the playoffs. I am ready for the playoffs and can't wait, but I'm just saying if anything stops us from being successful in the playoffs it will be Arians and the OL.
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Old 12-26-2008, 04:10 PM   #9
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I agree. I also do not know what the future holds. In 2005 we had issues on that team too, look what happened. Last year we saw a "perfect team" with a "perfect season" lose an improbable Superbowl. So yes I know what I believe to be our teams shortcomings, and I believe the Steeler organization knows also.Lets just keep the faith,but, more importantly enjoy this season and what this team has accomplished so far.
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Old 12-26-2008, 04:34 PM   #10
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Default Re: Mike works his magic

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Originally Posted by markymarc View Post
I wouldn't want any other coach for the Steelers. Mike Tomlin is only 2 years into building his legacy. Considering our injuries and the toughest schedule he has done an amazing job with this team. Now he just needs to get this team ready for our playoff run.

Totally agree. I really really like Tomlin's demeanor. IMO he will keep this team poised and focused no matter the circumstances. Yet to be determined is his big game coach status but i feel extremely comfortable with him heading into the big ones.
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