With what’s now known as made-up commentary about Mike Tomlin considering stepping down from the Pittsburgh Steelers, there’s been overwhelming support from players of their head coach sticking around.
Some, like T.J. Watt and Cam Heyward, have said they won’t play for another. That’s huge, considering Watt is still in the prime of his career, and Heyward is heading into the final year of his contract.
“You look in the locker room, and you read the quotes of the guys in their exit interviews with the media, and every single guy has said that they only want to play for Tomlin,” J.J. Watt said on Wednesday’s Pat McAfee Show. “T.J. said it was a big part of his contract negotiation a couple years ago, he wants to play for Mike T., the only guy he wants to play for is Mike T. Everybody in that locker room loves him respects him wants to play for him.”
Just because they love their head coach doesn’t mean they love falling short of or losing in the first round of the playoffs every year.
“I also don’t think that that that means that they’re satisfied with the outcome. That means they’re satisfied with the way things have gone, and that means they’re satisfied with where they are currently.”
Watt sees both sides of the coin. He understands fans’ frustrations with Tomlin’s lack of playoff success and their desire for the team to move on from him — or at least weigh their options.
“I think there’s certainly things that they want to improve and get better on, but in today’s day and age, I also see the people on the other side. I do see the people’s side where they’re like, well, if Bill Belichick can be escorted out of his role as the head coach of a team that he won six championships with, why are we in this situation where we can’t maybe at least have a conversation about our coach.”
But, ultimately, for Watt, it comes down to there’s no quick fix that Tomlin walking away or getting jettisoned would solve.
“I am personally fully well aware of how difficult it is in this league to find a good football coach. I do think that people think that there’s these quick fixes and things somebody’s going to come in and make this thing miraculously better and figure it all. I really, really, really do not know if you’re going to find many better football coaches in the world than Mike Tomlin.”
While Watt, like several others, believes Tomlin is the only head coach for the Steelers, it doesn’t mean they do not need significant changes.
“I would say from an outsider standpoint, I think that Mike Tomlin is an unbelievable leader of men. He’s an unbelievable head coach. Obviously, this year, they had to change their offensive coordinator mid-year, and that offense was a bit of an issue. I do think that there are things that can certainly be improved. Mike Tomlin is still the best leader of men for this organization, so I think if you’re willing to go into the offseason and have realistic conversations about what needs to happen and how things need to change to make that next jump, you can also say we should still have Mike T. at the helm.”
Like it or not, Mike Tomlin will be head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers for the foreseeable future. Now it’s all about how the brass handles the rest going forward.
— Blitzburgh (@Blitz_Burgh) January 17, 2024