There’s a lot to like about Mike Tomlin. He’s got a Super Bowl ring and had the Pittsburgh Steelers on the cusp of another but fell short. He’s known to be a guy that many players around the NFL want to play for and appears to be well-liked by the guys currently on his roster. When you’re an NFL head coach, those are all pretty good things to have on your resume.
The one area Tomlin’s resume could use a “needs improvement” check-mark is in time management and he addressed that this past week during the Owners’ Meetings.
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Steelers’ Beat Writer Mark Kaboly followed the Steelers’ contingent to South Florida and he was there when Tomlin opened up on the topic. Tomlin stated that when it came to clock management, he “follows his gut.”
“I think there’s always going to be room for evaluation of that or judgement of that,” Tomlin said. “I don’t worry about that, to be honest with you. It just is what it is. I think there’s a lot of Monday morning quarterbacks, and I would love to put a headset on them and stand them on the sideline of the stadium and watch them make no decision.” (Quote courtesy Trib-Review)
Tomlin is right when he says there will always be room for evaluation. That’s the nature of the beast when it comes to coaching in any sport at any level – second guessing is going to happen – but it happens less when you’ve been more successful than not. Where Tomlin goes wrong here is when he suggests the “Monday morning quarterbacks should put on the headset so he could watch them make no decision.”
That sounds a bit defensive to me and let’s be honest; some of his mistakes in time management have been pretty juvenile in my opinion. Is it easy making these decisions when the pressure is on? No and I’m not suggesting it is but Tomlin must improve here in order to give his team every possible advantage.
To be fair, Tomlin is certainly not the only coach who makes time management errors. Heck, ask Seattle fans about Mike Holmgren’s work late in the first half of Super Bowl XL. There’s a lot of pressure on these guys and as Tomlin points out, millions of people second-guessing. Unfortunately that comes with the business and no one knows that more than Tomlin.
His boss, Art Rooney II, defended his time management last season and why wouldn’t he? The Rooney’s have never been the type to publicly criticize their own coaches or players. Behind the scenes however, I have to believe it’s been a topic of discussion. Tomlin went on to say the following…
“There are a lot of variables in it, and to be quite honest with you, I never feel moved to get into a lot of detail in terms of explaining my mentality or the layers involved in decision making. It just doesn’t bother me to be judged. Just don’t take it personal if I don’t overly participate in that analysis.” (Quote courtesy Trib-Review)
Tomlin is wise to not go into the heavy details of his thinking when it comes to managing a game. It creates too many talking points for people like me to go back and say, “but what this time and what about that time?” I appreciate that he doesn’t and isn’t going to make any apologies for his clock management, but as long as he’s the head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers he will face larger and larger questions about this issue.
Until his time is up that is…