Mike Tomlin took to the podium at noon yesterday, addressing situations unfamiliar to the Pittsburgh Steelers as a franchise. A franchise once built on dignity, respect and professionalism has, in the belief of many, fallen to tatters. In-fact, our own tight end, Jesse James, summed it up best – the Steelers have become football’s ‘Kardashians’.
That said, at the inception of the season this team was touted as one of the strongest. Moreover, in a division where each team was either rebuilding (Browns), in crisis (Bengals) or just playing second fiddle to the Steelers (Ravens), you could’ve bet the house on the team in black and gold. Yet, here we are; in January, out of the playoffs and in relative turmoil.
Despite the treacherous situation Mike Tomlin finds himself in, there were positives to be noted. Firstly, he demonstrated gratitude toward new kicker Matt McCrane. He stated: “I can’t say enough about Matt, the kicker we acquired last week, he came up big, we awarded him the game ball and appropriately so.” Although Tomlin never acknowledged McCrane as the starter for 2019, it is definitely an incentive to the young kicker. If anything, it provides competition for Boswell in the offseason.
Addressing The Drama
Ironically, Tomlin’s lack of juicy gossip released drew criticism from the same people who address the Steelers’ situation as petulant. Personally, I admire his constant effort to ensure that matters will be addressed in house. In response to a question regarding Antonio Brown, he said: “I’m going to address it. We’re going to address him and the circumstance, but we’re going to information-gather and utilize all the time that’s at our disposal in which to do so.”
Although he never made it clear, for much of his time answering questions Tomlin depicted his anger towards the situation. In spite of all the talent Antonio Brown brings to the team, his childish demonstrations don’t belong in high school football, let alone the NFL. This was something Tomlin addressed, saying: “When we’re talking about our darkest hour – playing to win a game and needing other dominoes to fall for us to be in the tournament, and a guy not communicating, that is a real element of the discussion.” This statement almost certainly hints at the possibility of trading AB, regardless of how reluctant he may be to do so.
Furthermore, throughout the press conference Tomlin was visibly near the end of his tether. Although the current circumstances have been somewhat derived from his allowance of such antics, he certainly didn’t shy away from excepting responsibility. “Man, I except responsibility and I accept and I foster and develop every aspect of our culture.”
In addition, one reporter questioned whether or not he should become more of a disciplinarian. He responded: “Most certainly, you’re not going to routinely do the same things and expect results to change.” Adding: “The fact that we are having this press conference today..tells you that, that line of thinking is very necessary.”
The Times They Are A-Changin’
Unbelievably, the Pittsburgh Steelers may actually be better off in the long run. Even some of the roster have admitted failing to reach the postseason may actually be a catalyst for change in the Steel City. Some cited that it might finally put an end to the “bullshit”. More than anything, it’s a means for change.
Tomlin himself mirrored this sentiment, leaving the following overarching statement: “When you lack success, when you fail, change is a part of it. We talked about it as a staff, we talked about it with the players in exit meetings. Yes, change is going to be a part of it moving forward, and what those changes will be we’re in the process of gathering information and plotting a course. We’re not going to be resistant to change in any facet. We are not going to be resistant to accountability in any facet. We’re not going to be resistant to taking ownership over what has transpired, because that’s not conducive to us moving forward.”
Conclusively, it appears the drama that has manifested itself inside of the locker room may be on its way out. Whether that exits with Antonio Brown or not, we do not yet know. Regardless, Tomlin has had enough and judging by the press conference, he is about to make some major changes. Doing exactly that, in my opinion, is best for the team, the fans, the players and the city.
Image Credits – ESPN.com