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Old 01-15-2009, 05:56 PM   #1
mesaSteeler
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Default Tomlin building own legacy with Steelers

Tomlin building own legacy with Steelers
http://myespn.go.com/blogs/afcnorth/...-Steelers.html
January 14, 2009 3:17 PM

Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker

PITTSBURGH -- Every day, Mike Tomlin walks by five Lombardi trophies on the way to his office.

Not one.

Not two or three.

But five.

It's a tremendous symbol of excellence for the Pittsburgh Steelers. But for Tomlin, it's also a daily reminder of the extremely high standard the second-year coach has to live up to.

One can almost feel the ghosts of Chuck Noll and Bill Cowher swirling around Pittsburgh this time of year. Noll (four times) and Cowher (once) became legendary by bringing Super Bowl titles to the Steel City.

Tomlin wants -- and expects -- to do the same.

"I love the high expectations that come with this job," said Tomlin. "I'd rather have high ones than low ones. It's a sense of pride, because the tradition is awesome. You can't put a price tag on it. It's inspiring."

Tomlin, 36, already has Pittsburgh (13-4) in the AFC Championship Game against the rival Baltimore Ravens (13-5). The game guarantees that one AFC North team will represent the conference in Tampa for Super Bowl XLIII.

These are the big games Tomlin needs to eventually win to be mentioned alongside his lofty predecessors. Noll, who won four Super Bowls in the 1970s, is a Hall of Fame coach, and Cowher is a lock for Canton when he decides to permanently retire.

Tomlin is doing well so far.

He is 22-10 in his first two regular seasons and won his first career playoff game last week against the San Diego Chargers. Tomlin's winning percentage of .688 is better at this point than both Cowher (.623) and Noll (.566). But everyone knows football excellence in Pittsburgh is judged by hardware.

"I want to win one for him just for the fact that he is a great coach," Steelers receiver Hines Ward said. "He's following in the footsteps of Coach Cowher and Coach Noll, but the tradition here doesn't stop. This organization is still all about winning Super Bowls and being there to give yourself a chance to play in the playoffs."

Cowher dealt with many of the same issues following in the footsteps of Noll. He spent 15 years in in Pittsburgh and -- despite consistent winning -- didn't win the Super Bowl until year 14 of his tenure.

Cowher struggled most in AFC title games, where he was 2-4. He split two Super Bowl appearances -- losing Super Bowl XXX to the Dallas Cowboys and winning Super Bowl XL against the Seattle Seahawks.

This is the 14th AFC Championship Game in Pittsburgh's storied history. The Steelers are 6-7 in their previous appearances.

Tomlin has a chance to advance to his first Super Bowl much earlier than Cowher, who got to his first big game in his fourth season. It also doesn't hurt Tomlin that this year's playoff field is wide open as three No. 1 and No. 2 seeds were upset in last week's divisional round.

Pittsburgh, the second seed in the AFC, is the highest-seeded team remaining in the postseason.

"We've worked our cans off all year to get to this point," Steelers defensive end Brett Keisel said. "Now it's about seizing this opportunity, taking advantage and going to Tampa."

Tomlin has said numerous times that the 2008 Steelers are not his story. It's a humble statement but not completely accurate.

Tomlin's rapid growth as a coach is one of the reasons Pittsburgh is in title contention. The Steelers saw no drop-off after switching head coaches for the first time in 15 years, and Tomlin deserves much of the credit for keeping continuity and high expectations intact throughout the organization.

"He's done a phenomenal job of getting all his players and getting this team back to where we wanted to be," Ward said. "Last year we fell short in the playoffs. This year we advanced to the next round and we're one game away from the Super Bowl. So a lot of players do want to win it for him.

"To go to the playoffs his first two years, we can't ask for any rookie coaches to do that."

The Mount Rushmore of Steelers coaches may someday include Tomlin. But, first, he has to add a sixth piece of hardware to that very same trophy case he passes at work every single day.

Huge shoes to fill

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin follows Bill Cowher and Chuck Noll, who combined to win five Super Bowls. Here is how he stacks up to the two coaching legends so far.

Years 2 15 23
Record 22-10 149-90-1 193-148-1
Win % .688 .623 .566
Playoff W-L 1-1 12-9 16-8
Super Bowl wins 0* 1 4
* Tomlin can advance to his first Super Bowl with a win on Sunday.

Ravens-Steelers playoffs, AFC North, Mike Tomlin, Hines Ward, Brett Keisel, Chuck Noll, Bill Cowher, playoffs, NFL

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Old 01-15-2009, 06:16 PM   #2
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Default Re: Tomlin building own legacy with Steelers

Great article.

When they were looking, I was actually more sold on Riviera. However, as I kept looking, I really liked Tomlin. When he was announced, and I heard his conference, I was thoroughly impressed.

He has purported himself VERY well through some MAJOR landmines in the last two years. Now it is time for him to FINISHED OFF THIS SB RUN!!!!
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Old 01-15-2009, 07:56 PM   #3
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Default Re: Tomlin building own legacy with Steelers

From the moment coach was hired I knew he was the man. And with everyday that goes by he shows why he was given the job.
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Old 01-15-2009, 08:22 PM   #4
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Default Re: Tomlin building own legacy with Steelers

I was, admittedly, an enormous fan of Coach Cowher (as well as Coach Noll) and was a little apprehensive about the Steelers players being able to adjust to a new HC, but Mike Tomlin has laid that apprehension to rest. He is not only a phenomenal coach and a gracious gentleman, he has earned a tremendous amount of respect from his players and has molded and motivated his guys into confident, gritty, energetic warriors who defied all of the odds stacked against them this season and are now just one win away from center stage and the possibility of adding that historic 6th Lombardi to the Steelers collection!
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Old 01-15-2009, 08:56 PM   #5
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Default Re: Tomlin building own legacy with Steelers

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Originally Posted by HometownGal View Post
I was, admittedly, an enormous fan of Coach Cowher (as well as Coach Noll) and was a little apprehensive about the Steelers players being able to adjust to a new HC, but Mike Tomlin has laid that apprehension to rest. He is not only a phenomenal coach and a gracious gentleman, he has earned a tremendous amount of respect from his players and has molded and motivated his guys into confident, gritty, energetic warriors who defied all of the odds stacked against them this season and are now just one win away from center stage and the possibility of adding that historic 6th Lombardi to the Steelers collection!
Amazing how fortunate we've been over the last 40 years. Noll, Cowher and now Tomlin. I'll never love a coach more than Chuck Noll. With that said, I hope that Tomlin will be around for the long haul. What organization can boast ONLY 3 coaches over the last 40 years? And to be of the quality we've had.......
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Old 01-16-2009, 05:31 AM   #6
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Default Re: Tomlin building own legacy with Steelers

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Originally Posted by Preacher View Post
Great article.

When they were looking, I was actually more sold on Riviera. However, as I kept looking, I really liked Tomlin. When he was announced, and I heard his conference, I was thoroughly impressed.

He has purported himself VERY well through some MAJOR landmines in the last two years. Now it is time for him to FINISHED OFF THIS SB RUN!!!!
I agree, I think he is a good coach but he needs to stop taking chances in playoff games. That punt fake was a bad one. If it were a regular season game no big deal but you can't give teams in the playoffs that kind of field position.
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Old 01-16-2009, 06:24 AM   #7
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Default Re: Tomlin building own legacy with Steelers

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I agree, I think he is a good coach but he needs to stop taking chances in playoff games. That punt fake was a bad one. If it were a regular season game no big deal but you can't give teams in the playoffs that kind of field position.
I thnk Mike Tomlin is doing a very good job. However he is going to be judged in Pittsburgh by winning Super Bowls and this is his opportunity right now. He does not need to be playing motiovational mind games with his players by faking punts and giving the other team good field position. This is not smart football.

If he wants to get tricky roll Ben out of the pocket more. Use the shuffle pass occassionally. Use more screens, most of all use Parker's speed as the Ravens seem vulnerable to quick fast RBs. Be more creative in your game planning Coach & do not violate solid basic football odds. Do not challnge Reed, use Heath Miller more. We are a better team than the Ravens do not give them any breaks as the breaks will come our way via our defense . Be patient .
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Old 01-16-2009, 07:40 AM   #8
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Default Re: Tomlin building own legacy with Steelers

And Tomlin can continue to add to his legacy by going to the big game in his 2nd season. Keep doing your think Mike and have this team fired up and ready to kick some Rat ass on Sunday.
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Old 01-16-2009, 11:15 AM   #9
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Default Re: Tomlin building own legacy with Steelers

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Originally Posted by Michael Keller View Post
I thnk Mike Tomlin is doing a very good job. However he is going to be judged in Pittsburgh by winning Super Bowls and this is his opportunity right now. He does not need to be playing motiovational mind games with his players by faking punts and giving the other team good field position. This is not smart football.

If he wants to get tricky roll Ben out of the pocket more. Use the shuffle pass occassionally. Use more screens, most of all use Parker's speed as the Ravens seem vulnerable to quick fast RBs. Be more creative in your game planning Coach & do not violate solid basic football odds. Do not challnge Reed, use Heath Miller more. We are a better team than the Ravens do not give them any breaks as the breaks will come our way via our defense . Be patient .
I agree. I think he has done a great job so far and so far I am impressed but some of the stuff he does is just too risky. I know we have a great defense and all but that great defense can make a mistake.
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Old 01-16-2009, 11:42 AM   #10
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Default Re: Tomlin building own legacy with Steelers

I didnt have a huge problem on the fake punt. Though they didnt sell it well, it shows that Mike isnt gonna sit back and allow the opponent gain confidence or steal momentum. He went for the kill early with the fake punt call. Close to midfield that early in a game isnt too bad of a risk as we had time to recover from the lack of execution on that play.
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