He Used To Be A Very Humble Player,” pittsburgh steelers Head Coach Confesses After The Club’s Star Player Is Confirmed…

Is Mike Tomlin of the Steelers a true “players coach” or not?

I overheard months of arguments amongst Pittsburgh Steelers supporters concerning Mike Tomlin’s identity—who he is, was, and still is. The phrase “players coach” was most frequently used to disparage Tomlin.

Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin

Following almost two weeks of polling, social media conversations, and interviewing, I think I’ve uncovered some important details regarding that term. One is that while some fans use it negatively, others utilize it positively. Two, although they use the term somewhat differently from one another, even coaches do not all agree on what it signifies.

In this editorial, I provide a succinct analysis of all the data I gathered from multiple sources in response to the query of whether Tomlin actually works as a player coach.

How it all got started

When I first heard the phrase, I was genuinely curious about how it was being used in relation to Mike Tomlin. 2023 was a tough season for the Pittsburgh Steelers, so a frustrated fan base was not unexpected. Fans want victories, and the greatest victory of all in the NFL is the Super Bowl.

With the off-season having begun for the team, it seemed the right time to dig deeper into this topic and present it so that fans can analyze it themselves and come to their own conclusions.

A “players coach”—what is that?

It’s a bit of a loaded question. Why? The answer, however, is subjective and not based on well defined vocabulary. You can’t just pick a predetermined outcome by visiting a sports encyclopedia.

Three approaches are the most effective ways to dissect it. So that’s how I went about solving the issue.

“A coach who coaches players can evaluate all the factors he incorporates into his formula to call plays, devise strategies, and make judgments.while considering the players’ feelings and mental processes…

You, sir, are not a player’s coach if you detest their style, music, or want for them to walk with swagger.

The following was stated by junior college football coach Bret B. (last name removed per his request):

“You can’t call yourself a “players coach” if you were never a player in a football program first. You can’t understand what it’s like to practice twice a day in the sweltering heat, feel like you let a teammate down by being hurt, or desire to have the ball in your hands because you have the guts believing you can pull off the victory play.

A coach with experience as a player has been poked in the eye a few times, knows what it takes to get a first down on the road, and is adept at reading his opponent. That coach is aware of the suffering, annoyance, longing, and terrible depths of loss.

Tomlin has extensive knowledge of the game of football, no disputing that. He’s played, he’s coordinated, he’s coached. He has experienced the game. He understands what it feels like – good and bad – in practice and in games. He has talked extensively about how important it is for him to come from a place of having experienced the many facets of football and to share that with those he coaches – his players.

Tomlin has rolled the dice with assistants, coordinators, and players, that hasn’t always had a positive result. Some would argue that he’s placed too much faith in certain individuals to his own downfall. He’s also rolled the dice against opponents, and it has had some ugly results. Such is football.

I look at Bill Cowher, a Hall of Fame coach, and see a lot of those same traits in him. Andy Reid is taking his Kansas City Chiefs to the Super Bowl and making jokes about chicken “nuggies” in commercials, but he has the respect of his team (or at least he appears to, right?) Chuck Noll, for all of the myriad of things said about his coaching style, fits many of the positive and negative things said about players’ coaches, and I’m not sure anyone in Pittsburgh is giving four Lombardi trophies back to the NFL over it.

As coaching pedigrees frequently do, the true question of whether a “players coach” is good or poor ultimately boils down to outcomes. The query concerning Tomlin? You make the final decision, though.

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