Mendenhall Wasn’t the Only One Who Didn’t Show Up Sunday

Last evening the news broke that Pittsburgh Steelers’ running back Rashard Mendenhall had been suspended for one game for conduct detrimental to the team. Knowing he was not going to be active for a second straight game, Mendenhall apparently had better things to do with his Sunday afternoon.

If the Steelers are in fact suspending him for ‘not showing up,’ then by this logic shouldn’t the whole team be suspended for a game? I’m not exactly joking either.

In his weekly press conference which was held long before the news of Mendenhall’s suspension broke, Head Coach Mike Tomlin was asked about the comments from veteran defensive end Brett Keisel following Sunday’s loss. Keisel was brutally honest as were a few other players when he said “the team was flat. It’s like we never got into the game.”

Normally, NFL head coaches are notorious for not admitting their wrongs. Later in the press conference Tomlin would not admit his faults in game management when it came to the two-point conversions but that ship has sailed. Where Tomlin can be credited is when addressing the question about Keisel’s comments.

I nearly dropped my coffee mug when I heard him utter the words “I agree.”

Wait, he agreed?!?!?!? This may be a first not only for Mike Tomlin but for any Steelers’ coach of the last several decades. One William Laird Cowher was not exactly a guy willing to admit when he was wrong either and Chuck Noll? Good luck with that.

Tomlin believed the team prepared the way it always had and that he felt everything was in place and had been addressed yet he still agreed with Keisel that his team was flat. How on God’s black and gold Earth do you tolerate your team being ‘flat’ with such major significance on the line?

If by the logic used in the suspension of Rashard Mendenhall then shouldn’t most of this team be suspended for one game? Not showing up has numerous definitions but at the end of the day doesn’t it really mean the same thing whether you were on the field or not?

I credit Mike Tomlin with being honest about his team’s complete lack of emotion, fire and urgency. It’s a refreshing thing to hear from a guy who is normally as patterned as a Burberry handbag. I understand why coaches speak the way they do but that doesn’t mean it isn’t frustrating.

The loss on Sunday has left me bewildered. Obviously, if I’m still talking about it on Wednesday, but it had to be one of the worst losses I’ve seen in Pittsburgh in a long time and for many reasons. My hope is that this team can come together and get a streak going but it will take much more than just ‘showing up.’ Of course for some, that means more than just being absent.

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