Steelers coach Mike Tomlin has a knack for getting more out of his players than the sum of their individual talents would suggest. Earlier this week on PFT Live, we asked linebacker T.J. Watt to explain how Tomlin pulls it off.
"I think it’s a holding everybody accountable-type thing as far as in the film room," Watt said. "When we come into the team meeting room, you don't know what's he's gonna show you. Everybody kind of has a little nervous feel. We're all looking around each other like, ‘What play?’ When that play pops up, you immediately know before he even hits 'play' like, ‘Ahhh, it's my play.’
"You could be talking to him outside the meeting room like cool, ‘How's the family? How's everything going?’ Really nice [and] all of a sudden you get in there and that play comes up like, ‘We were just cool outside and now you're gonna roast me in front of the whole team?’ It’s that accountability aspect of in team meetings, the offense goes over their spiel a little bit, so the defense knows what the expectations are for the offense and vice versa. It helps us kind of hold each other accountable on the football field."
Another thing that gets the players to step up on the football field is the team's habit playing Renegade at a key moment, late in the game. Watt explained how it boosts the players.
"I mean, any time you get 75-plus thousand people on their feet waving Terrible Towels, the camera goes out, the screen goes black, and they start showing highlights, you feel — it's tangible, you feel the energy in the place and it makes you want to give these people exactly what they're looking for. And that's a turnover, a big splash play, and it's always playing [during] the most important series of the game."
Whatever the Steelers are doing is working. They don't have the most talented team ob both sides of the ball, but they can compete with anyone and everyone, thanks to Tomlin and to the home-field advantage they enjoy in Pittsburgh.