Aubrey Bruce: Tomlin’s team into the playoffs again, but still, ‘yinz’ are mad

On January 6, 2024, the Pittsburgh Steelers invaded M&T Bank Stadium to face the Baltimore Ravens, the number 1 seed of the AFC. At that point, the playoff hopes of the Black and Gold were on life support. Even though the Ravens rested many of their starters, the prospect of defeating the Ravens at home, during an almost perpetual downpour was improbable. However, the Steelers prevailed by the score of 17-10.  There were many opinions about the victory. The most asinine analysis that I heard was that Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin should not be let off the hook because the Steelers should never have been put in that vulnerable position by losing to the Arizona Cardinals or the New England Patriots, two of the bottom feeders of the NFL. 

After many of the “squawk boxes” began to digest the Steelers’ improbable journey to the 2023 NFL postseason, they began writing the epitaph of the New England Patriots’ head coach Bill Belichick.

I am going to get political now. Donald Trump, the ex-President of the United States, once said the following: “I could shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose any voters.” 

The Patriots cheated the Pittsburgh Steelers and their former head coach Bill Cowher on many occasions, and do you want to know what Cowher said about Bill Belichick’s possible departure from New England? Cowher said: “What I respect about Bill Belichick is his consistency and respect for the game.” 

This man sanctioned cheating you, your team, your fan base, and your city out of a championship and the economic perks that it would bring to your city, and you respect his consistency and respect for the game? Belichick’s cheating and skullduggery shot the Steelers down on multiple occasions consistently and with no respect for the spirit of fair competition. So maybe Bill Cowher should have put on a bulletproof vest before competing against Bill Belichick, the G.O.A.T. cheater.

Former Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger recently had the darn nerve to say, “Maybe the tradition of the Pittsburgh Steelers is done.”

Roethlisberger also praised Chiefs head coach Andy Reid and talked about some of the Steelers’ “bad coaching.” 

It was a tall task for Mike Tomlin or any other coach who would face the challenge of coaching Ben Roethlisberger or any other player who was divisive in the locker room. That player also simultaneously disrespected that coach who was forced to publicly support the individual who was accused of multiple accusations of sexual misbehavior.  The “goose” of the Pittsburgh Steelers was almost cooked when Ben Roethlisberger was penalized and suspended for multiple games as a result of that behavior.

Andy Reid was not faced with the difficulty of coaching such a player. Travis Kelce, the future NFL Hall-of-Famer, coached by Andy Reid, recently had this to say about the biased criticism of Mike Tomlin. “The media is so dumb. Why do we do the media? Bunch of jackasses. Just out here f___ing talking nonsense. One of the best coaches the NFL has ever even seen, about to possibly get his 17th consecutive non-losing season.”

As I mentioned earlier, some of the Mike Tomlin critique is laced with “Trumpisms.” A few “yinzers” on Twitter or X or whatever, even had a problem with Travis Kelce praising Mike Tomlin. @DoctorTruth6 had this to say. “The Steelers represent mediocrity.  The owners are OK with that, the fans aren’t.” Doctor Truth describes himself as: “retired, patriot, equality of opportunity, 1776.”  The great patriot forgot to mention the following tidbit of American History.  The ultimate patriot was Crispus Attucks, a Black man who was considered to be the first person killed in the American Revolution. He died March 5, 1770, in the Boston Massacre, an event that fueled rebellion among American colonists who were getting fed up with British authorities.

Crispus Attucks died for the American cause before the actual American Revolution began. To paraphrase the late poet and patriot Gil Scott-Heron: “The beginning of the revolution was not televised.”

There are a few folks nowadays that are on a mission to rewrite history, whether it be sports history or just history in general. They would love to erase the hiring and tenure of Mike Tomlin from the Journal of Pittsburgh Steelers History. @mountaindropping went as far as to trash megastar Taylor Swift because of her connection to Travis Kelce, “the Mike Tomlin lover.” “Saying a mediocre coach that’s only selling point is winning 1 more game than losing is one of the best ever is like saying Taylor Swift is one of the best singers ever.” The “poop-sayer” not the soothsayer continued saying, “Well, from his pov I get it, nym” Now I get it.

Could the “bird droppings” coming out of the mouth of @mountaindropping be synonymous with cow chips? Remember they wanted Mike Tomlin to bench George Pickens for disciplinary reasons.  Had Tomlin done their bidding, would the Steelers’ former starting QB Kenny Pickett have become the albatross around the neck of a new Steelers head coach? Mike Tomlin gambled on providing an opportunity for a young man that almost no one (including yours truly) had one ounce of faith in. Coach Tomlin decided to go with Mason Rudolph because what the hell, what did Tomlin or the Pittsburgh Steelers have to lose? This is the first time in my career as an NFL sportswriter that I have seen fans celebrate when QB Kenny Pickett was able to achieve something as normal as moving the chains and getting a first down. On numerous occasions, Pickett left the Pittsburgh Steelers’ defense hanging out to dry in the middle of the desert of competition. Mason Rudolph has become the most unlikely “oasis” for a team that was “thirsty for hope.”  All first-round draft choices of NFL franchises are not destined for greatness and not all free agents are destined for failure. Do Yinz think that the Steelers and other NFL franchises might create and maintain a value system based on performance and not draft position and/or marketing?





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