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Mike Tomlin's New Title

Mike Tomlin deserves a new title (and new business cards, too!)

There can be little doubt that the Steelers were handed a humiliating defeat yesterday by the Browns.  Charlie Batch notwithstanding, 8 fumbles is an embarrassing performance in any coach's book. Yet, despite the raw shame that Pittsburgh fans feel at the thought of losing to the Cleveland Browns, we should all take heart and find great strength in the person of Mike Tomlin.

Not many are qualified to truly evaluate his skills as a football coach.  As fans we like to think we have what it takes to do his job (or at least to tell him what he's doing wrong), but the truth is that only a select group of individuals gets the title of "Head Coach" in the NFL.  The best we can do is second guess his decisions and then share our "wisdom" with the outraged fans screaming at the sports talk programs.

Yet Mike Tomlin the man is a far more valuable example of leadership and accountability.  His comments after the game reveal an individual who understands the burden of leaders, which is ownership of the actions of others whom they cannot control.  He does not look for scapegoats nor does he engage in the art of finding fault with specific players.  Phrases like "We own it" and "It is what it is" are far more than just a cagey strategy for answering uncomfortable questions.  Coach Tomlin's language--both spoken and unspoken--reflects a highly developed sense of accountability for himself and his coaches and players.  To be fair, he seems to have always been that sort of guy; I think I wasn't paying enough attention until now.

So I propose that we change Coach Tomlin's job title to CAO -- Chief Accountability Officer, and then, during the off-season, send him out to schools and youth organizations across Western PA (and, indeed, the whole country) to deliver a very simple message: Accountability, while sometimes unpleasant, is the greatest reward of leadership and an enduring source of respect.

So how about it Mr. Rooney?  Could you spring for a new set of business cards for Coach Mike?

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B November 27, 2012 at 05:15 PM
Your arguments are so full of holes but lets just shoot down a few of them. 'Inherited a Cowher team'... you mean the team that went 8-8 following it's Superbowl run and didn't even make the playoffs? 'Bill Cower did not have a quarterback for the 1st 10 years and he did pretty good.'... and by 'pretty good' you mean never won a Superbowl which is all that matters in the NFL. ' I think in the coming years we will see that the Rooney's made a poor decision to hire an individual with an outrageously low experience level.' Cowher had 1 more year experience.... oh yeah and they were the same age... " Ben is on the back end of his career" barring major injury (and Haley's system keeps Ben from getting hit as much) Ben should play till 36-40 years old. That is another 6-10 seasons. I would expect we would see Ben retire around ~38 or so.
Jeff Canter November 27, 2012 at 05:54 PM
All of your comments reveal that Coach Tomlin is a far more polarizing figure than I would have guessed when I made my initial comments about accountability. Still, regardless of his talent or skills (neither of which I am qualified to judge), I lift up the spirit in which, I believe, his statements of accountability were made. In fact, despite our assumptions about his motives, he will be held to account for the team's performance (and his own). The Rooneys are notoriously loyal people, but they have also shown that they understand the "business" side of the NFL -- that you have to win to have a successful franchise (notwithstanding the seeming global appeal reflected by Steeler Nation). While we the fans maintain our right to have high expectations for the Steelers, we cannot lose sight of the fact that Coach Tomlin serves at the pleasure of the Rooney family. If his performance is inadequate, he will forfeit his very lucrative position. Should the owners fail to act to correct a bad situation, they will bear the consequences through bad press, outraged fans and, ultimately, lower market value for the team (admittedly, I can't imagine this to be of significant impact in the short term). My initial assertion is the same -- through his willingness to "own" the outcome of any given game, Mike Tomlin provides a positive example of the burden of leadership. It's impossible for any of us to accurately measure his degree of sincerity. The best evidence of that lies ahead.
Jon Wain November 27, 2012 at 07:28 PM
lets face it . a player can screw up royally several times in a game and not fear the coach dogging him on the sideline. tomlin remains calm even when the same player gets called for holding 4 times in a game. we miss cower
Ed M November 27, 2012 at 10:57 PM
Gotta agree with ya Bryan.
Mike Jones December 09, 2012 at 10:43 PM
This might be opening an old wound, but Tomlin's explanation about not going for 2 and leaving Ben in the game when it was obviously over were less than truthful, logical or accountable. He is being rightfully hammered by the media for the lack of judgment and his team's pathetic preparation against another subpar opponent. The Steelers are now 7-6 this year with four of those losses coming against losing teams. Tomlin should be held accountable for his inability to prepare his team for "gimme" wins.


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