A professional football season is long. The regular season alone last 17 weeks which of course includes the bye week but it also has the preseason too.
Do you remember how far back the opening days of training camp feel? For me, it’s like an eternity especially after the 0-4 preseason and 0-4 start.
During much of that time, the Steeler Nation displayed anger, disgust and embarrassment.
We all wanted someone to blame and someone to point our black ‘n gold finger at and there were many options.
Today we wake up though to a different Steelers’ team though. This is the one that has won five of their last seven games and now sits a mere game out of the final wild-card spot.
Were you one of those blaming Mike Tomlin? Did you blame Kevin Colbert or Dick LeBeau? I won’t even ask if you blamed Todd Haley because doesn’t everyone blame Todd Haley?
If you wanted those men fired and sent packing then how do you feel now?
I can admit where I was both right and wrong about this team and you should be able to as well. I’ve been steadfast in my support of Mike Tomlin remaining on the job regardless of how this team finishes. While I’ve certainly been critical of Tomlin many times this season and justifiably so, I don’t believe he has been the problem.
The other gentlemen I mentioned I will not be changing my stance on and I’m guessing you won’t either. I’ve had enough of Kevin Colbert and average to sub-par drafts and my position on him won’t be altered.
Dick LeBeau and Todd Haley are to both be credited for doing certain things and making proper adjustments to get this team winning again but that will not change my opinion that both need to make this their last season in Pittsburgh.
In Haley’s case, he deserves credit for handing the reins of this offense in large part over to Ben Roethlisberger. Regardless of how similar Roethlisberger’s stats are in the huddle vs. no-huddle offense, no one can deny that the offense clicks better in the no-huddle.
Outside of that, criticism of Haley by and large is deserved and we can’t keep using offensive line injuries as an excuse. Haley needs to go regardless of where this team finishes.
As for LeBeau, his contributions to the game and to the Steelers are unquestionable and I don’t believe he has “lost a step” despite his age. I’m just a firm a believer in that sometimes coaches can be in the same position too long and this is the case. The same message can often fall on deaf ears.
Still, since getting the doors blown off by New England, this defense has had one horrible quarter. In 11 of the 12 quarters since giving up 55 points, the defense has surrendered just 21. Not bad for a defense burdened with age, youth and poor play.
Should the Steelers lose on Thursday night in Baltimore, the calls for Tomlin and everyone else mentioned to be fired will return. Despite still being mathematically alive, the seventh loss would be too much to overcome in my opinion and a non-playoff season for the second straight year would demand significant changes to be made.
Then again they could win and calls for sainthood for Tomlin would be everywhere. Such are the ups and downs during a long NFL season.
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 630pm ET talking Steelers and is a blogger for ESPN 970 in Pittsburgh.