I tried my hardest over the last week to avoid commenting on the recent thoughts of Steelers’ Hall of Fame Quarterback Terry Bradshaw but it was mostly because I needed time to process. I think I’ve come to the conclusion that Bradshaw has officially become the grumpy old man who screams “get off my lawn.” In all seriousness, his comments reflect a generational divide in my opinion and nothing more.
Last week Bradshaw said current Steelers’ Head Coach wasn’t really a good coach but more of a “good cheerleader.” I have no doubt that some saw those comments as racist. I’m not going there because I feel with 100% conviction that this was not what motivated Bradshaw’s comments as some have suggested.
This was motivated by a failure to understand what coaching has become in the thirty plus years since Bradshaw last played. Yes, he’s still close to the game because of his duties with FOX Sports but he’s not in the locker room every day and to say that coaching and game-planning has changed since he played is a vast understatement.
Bradshaw is building on a narrative that many anti-Tomlin folks have; that he inherited a “great” roster from Bill Cowher and that’s why he’s been so successful. When does that go away? Tomlin has coached 10 seasons now and has won over 100 games.
When you analyze the those Anti-Tomlin folks vs the Pro-Tomlin people there is often a generational divide. Younger people, who have only known Mike Tomlin and perhaps a little bit of Bill Cowher as their team’s coach favor Tomlin. Those who go back to the Noll era and beyond tend to fall into that ‘negative Tomlin’ area.
There are certainly exceptions to that but I think you see the point.
Trust me, I have been plenty critical of Mike Tomlin. There are things I never get past such as losing games to lesser opponents and some of his clock management issues, but to suggest he’s just a “cheerleader” is wrong. You don’t win games at this rate and deal with the injury issues he’s had and be just a “cheerleader.”
Criticizing Bradshaw is not easy for me – he’s always been my favorite Steeler in part because of his flaws – but he’s wrong about Mike Tomlin in this case. I fear Bradshaw has become just another bitter, former player who doesn’t like seeing his old team have success. He’s been openly critical of Ben Roethlisberger for years and he certainly has had trouble letting go of things that date back to his playing days.
This is about Tomlin however. If Bradshaw said he doesn’t think Tomlin is a top 4-5 coach, I could find a way to live with that. I think Tomlin is in desperate need of stacking some playoff wins to silence critics but that doesn’t mean he’s just a cheerleader. Far from it in fact.
I hope Bradshaw has had time to reflect on his comments and realize how poorly they came off. I’ve always appreciated his willingness to speak his mind but in this case he sounds like just another grumpy old man on the porch.
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