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In Defense of the “Cheerleader”

Over the past few weeks Mike Tomlin has been targeted by the media and Steelers fans alike, both questioning his resume, and credibility as one of the leagues best coaches. Despite the fact that the Steelers have never had a losing season under Tomlin, plus he has guided the team to two Superbowl appearances – winning one – the term cheerleader was attached to Tomlin from non other than all-time Steelers great Terry Bradshaw.

Appearing on Fox Sports 1 program ‘Speak for Yourself’ Bradshaw said some strong things about Tomlin, saying “I don’t think he’s a great coach at all” and that “he’s a great cheerleader guy”.

Cheerleader. Yep. A two time AFC champion, a consistent playoff contender, the fastest Steelers coach to 100 wins, the youngest head coach to win a Superbowl and the fastest coach in Steelers history to win a Superbowl, that’s a cheerleader, apparently…

I can’t argue with Terry Bradshaw’s football knowledge because the guy won four Superbowl’s for the Steelers and he played for – in my opinion – the greatest head coach ever in Chuck Noll. So obviously the guy knows his stuff.

But to turn around and proclaim Mike McCarthy as a great coach, but call Tomlin a cheerleader is just asinine. McCarthy has the pleasure of working with the BEST active quarterback in the league in Aaron Rogers and has also had the pleasure of playing against a dysfunctional Bears team twice, and until a couple of seasons ago, mediocre/bad teams in Detroit and Minnesota, twice. Meanwhile the Steelers play in a division with a Bengals team that usually gains around 10-11 wins a year, and a Ravens team that has won a Superbowl during Mike Tomlin’s tenure. Both of those teams are highly competitive for the AFC North crown, and have been for a number of years right now.

Ray Lewis hold the Lombardi Trophy – (

Now in no way am I saying you cannot criticize Mike Tomlin, because you can, and you have the right to say you do not like him as a head coach. You can question his coaching decisions, you can question the lack of deep playoff success the past few seasons, and you can question personnel choices because all of that is fair. But you cannot question the resume, you simply can’t because it is jam packed with achievements.

People say he inherited a Superbowl team from Bill Cowher. Okay. So he performed no job in helping coach that team up to win a Superbowl? He just sat and watched did he? That series of training sessions prior to the Superbowl where Tomlin was emphasizing rallying to the football on defensive interceptions to set up blocks in order to gain more yards on a return, that played no part in helping James Harrison’s 100-yard interception huh?

It’s been said that he has benefited from having a hall of fame quarterback already on his roster. That point is weak. How is that his fault? I didn’t see anyone mentioning how Mike McCarthy’s legacy has been tarnished by having Brett Favre and Aaron Rogers on his roster when he arrived. Also, why is Ben Roethlisberger absolved of any of the blame in regards to the Steelers failures or “lack of playoff wins”. Why Is it all Tomlin’s fault? Tomlin isn’t throwing the football.

Tomlin has drafted some of the games elite talents. Players like Antonio Brown in the 6th round, talk about an under the radar steal, and why doesn’t Tomlin get any credit for helping develop Brown into the receiver he is today? Why doesn’t Tomlin get credit for trusting Antonio Brown to be the Steelers number one receiver when they let Mike Wallace walk out the door? Le’Veon Bell is another player. Apparently Mike Tomlin telling Bell in his rookie year to slim down and to have a greater sense of conditioning has had no effect on the type of player Bell is today. Nope Tomlin has done no player development what so ever. He just sits and cheers on the sideline.

Maurkice Pouncey, Lawrence Timmons, Cam Heyward, David DeCastro, Ryan Shazier, Stephon Tuitt, Martavis Bryant. All players Tomlin has drafted over the past few years and all of them are impact players. Nobody gives him credit for developing that talent though. Even this year’s draft that has seen the addition of rookies Sean Davis, Artie Burns, and Javon Hargrave, rookies who are starting, and having a big impact on the Steelers suddenly surging defense. Sorry Mike, no credit awarded for that.

Mike Tomlin at Steelers Minicamp – (

Tomlin’s decision to bring in offensive line coach Mike Munchak a couple of years ago – y’know a move that has transformed the Steelers offensive line to one of the best units in the league – yeah Tomlin was just cheering on the sideline, he didn’t have any part of that decision. Nor did he have any part in bringing in offensive coordinator Todd Haley. Nope.

Mike Tomlin has won over 100 games for the Steelers organisation, he has been to the postseason seven out of his ten seasons as head coach, has won the AFC twice, has won a Superbowl and been to another, has drafted and developed some of the games most elite talent, has never had a losing season, and rebuilt the Steelers aging defense (that he was handed) through the draft. Still after all those accomplishments Steelers fans still have the nerve to call for his job.

Mike Tomlin is not perfect and in comparison to the all-time greats like Madden, Noll, Lombardi, Walsh, Shula, and Belichik he doesn’t compare, but certainly if Tomlin were to become available tomorrow you would see a line of about 27 teams waiting to interview him, because in his own right Tomlin has a very impressive resume, has recorded a lot of achievements, and in my mind, is a great football coach.

Time for Steelers fans to wake up and realize what we have and to appreciate it before it’s too late. It’s also time for Terry Bradshaw to check himself, seriously, cheerleader guy?




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