Yesterday, Pittsburgh Steelers’ Head Coach Mike Tomlin was added to the National Football League’s Competition Committee by Commissioner Roger Goodell. This is a group comprised of coaches, GM’s and owners that discusses the rules of the game and when necessary, make changes to those rules.
It was this committee for example (prior to Tomlin’s appointment) that drove the new rule related to running backs no longer being able to lower their head at contact.
Unless you’ve been living like the Unabomber, then you know the Steelers aren’t exactly crazy about many of the changes to the rules of the game pushed through by Goodell all in the name of ‘player safety.’ While Mike Tomlin has always tried to tow the company line in regards to his feelings on players like James Harrison and Ryan Clark being suspended and/or fined for ‘illegal hits,’ it was also clear at times that he didn’t always approve of the punishments handed down.
Tomlin’s own team of course was the only one to vote against the most recent labor deal simply because of their dislike for the increased power of Goodell. Last week, Steelers’ Chairman Dan Rooney defended the Commissioner’s actions saying he was “doing a good job” and “As far as the safety, I’m all for it. I don’t know whether I should even say this, but that’s why I was really upset with the idea of hurting people, the bounty situation.”
While I agree with Rooney regarding the bounty system, I’ll always struggle with anyone who defends Goodell, but the Rooney’s pushed heavily for his Commissioner-ship in the first place so it shouldn’t be surprising.
With Tomlin now added to the Competition Committee, I cannot help but wonder if there is more to it than just a simple appointment. With Tomlin on board, one could contend that making rules to further eliminate the violence of the game can be justified even more. His team after all is often the one cited for ushering in this new era of ‘player safety.’
As long as the former players’ lawsuit moves forward, there will be more rules put into affect that will change the way the game is played and will limit what the defense can do. Let’s be honest, the only reason the new rule on ball carriers was instituted was so that Goodell can make the argument that “we aren’t addressing just violence of the game on defense.”
What a load of crap.
Perhaps what this new post is all about comes from an old adage that still rings true today for powerful leaders. “Keep your friends close and enemies closer.” By having Tomlin on board, Goodell will have even more leverage in his war on the real game of football.
Here’s hoping that Mike Tomlin stands up for his team and the vast majority of his fan base.
Marc Uhlmann writes for and co-owns www.steelcityblitz.com. Follow him on Twitter @steeldad and follow the website at @SCBlitz. He can be heard Mondays on Trib-Live Radio at 4pm ET talking Steelers.