Most wouldn’t stay afloat. Most have no idea. Most want the shine and the glory. Not many have any idea what goes into it. Everyone has an opinion…
Being a coach is hard. It’s unforgiving and relentless. It’s being judged by people who have little to no idea what you do and how you do it. Imagine someone coming into your work, who has zero knowledge of what you do, and demand you be fired. I understand that it “comes with the territory.” I get that.
I’ve been a varsity football coach for, going on, double digit seasons and I can’t pretend to know what it’s like to coach in the NFL. Most of my peers and I would love the opportunity to scratch the surface of an NFL job, but will never get the chance. What I do know is what goes into winning football games and how hard it is to coach the right way! I am the FIRST ONE to be critical of a coach who deserves the criticism. I’ve sat in coaching clinics with NFL guys who ended up learning more from us High School coaches then we did from them. There are some guys in the NFL who have jobs because of who they know, no doubt. Our coaches do not fit that description.
Do average fans know what goes into coaching? Do they know the hours of film that is studied? And by studied, I mean dissected. Every. Detail. From where a player lines up, to what they do post-snap, to what their hands look like when it’s run or pass. What coverage is what. Who does what, where are they supposed to be and how do they “fit” the run. I’m open to teaching if anyone wants to know…
I, for one, am a Mike Tomlin guy. I think he’s a phenomenal football coach. Not only is he a great face to our great organization, but he knows how to be a leader of men. As a coach myself, I’d love to be able to sit down and pick his brain and talk football. So many underestimate what it takes to have people follow your lead. Especially in the NFL. A league that is full of players, most of whom, make more money than the coaches who are ”leading” them.
The NFL is where coaching makes more of a difference than any other level. Extraordinary coaches exist on all levels of football. However, in the NFL, the talent, believe it or not, is all fairly equal. EVERY NFL player was a top tier, elite, player for their college and hall of fame level at their HS. What separates great teams from others in the NFL is having a group of leaders coaching them, inspiring them.
We all know the statistics of the Tomlin era in Pittsburgh. The man has never had a losing season. He has two Super Bowl appearances and delivered one trophy to the Steel City. Spare me the “Cowher’s Players” nonsense. Was the team talented when he took over? Absolutely. Again, it takes a LEADER and coach to make them achieve their greatness. There are countless NFL teams that are LOADED with talent that are horrendous year in and year out.
Offensively, I don’t love where our offense is right now. No one does. We all have to understand where we are. We didn’t have Ben Roethlisberger this year. Which is reason 1,2,3,4,5, and 100 that Coach Tomlin and his staff are phenomenal because of how well the team performed with Ben out. We’ve seen countless teams lose their QB and they lost the season.
Coach Randy Fichtner is not the most popular man in Pittsburgh. No Offensive Coordinator is. The #1 thing people rip about coaches is the play calling. We should all be so lucky as to call the perfect play every time. No play will be perfect in the fans eye. Go for it on fourth down. You run it up the middle, it’s stopped for no gain. Fans yell, “Why would you run up the middle?!” Run it outside on a pitch, fans yell, “Why would you run it outside there?” Play callers CANNOT win in the eyes of fans on any level of football.
Fichtner is Ben’s OC. He’s not going anywhere and he shouldn’t as long as 7 is under center. Like it or not, Ben being in a good place and comfortable is our most important piece to the championship puzzle we’re all hoping that gets built. I LOVE the addition of Matt Canada to the offensive staff. No, he’s not the OC, but he’s going to be able to add his thoughts and spins on some conceptual issues with the offense. He’ll also be able to lighten the load on Coach Fichtner with his QB responsibilities. Canada has had good effects on the QB’s he’s worked with on the college level, and we don’t know what’s happening behind the scenes. If Fichtner is open to it, Canada’s fingerprint may be more seen than we think…
Does our current staff have issues? Sure. Every staff does. The matchup issues we’ve had on defense, particularly against heavy empty and motion teams, drive me absolutely insane. Does my skin crawl when we play a team who is 2-10 and struggle or lose, you have no idea. BUT, I know how hard it is to get a win in this beautiful game of football.
I’m not saying our staff is perfect. There isn’t a perfect staff in the NFL period. However, nothing makes my skin crawl more than seeing fans rip apart a GOOD coaching staff on gameday. Coach Tomlin is a top tier, elite head coach and an even better man. I’d love nothing more than to be able to sit down and talk football and life in general with him. I’m thankful to have him leading our Steelers.