Before Sunday's big game against the Ravens, the Steelers had to deal with a little distraction from the mouth of Steelers' great, Terry Bradshaw.
When discussing Mike Tomlin as a coach on FS1's "Speak For Yourself" last week, Bradshaw said the following:
He’s really a great cheerleader guy, I don’t know what he does, but I don’t think that he’s a great coach at all. His name never pops into my mind when we think about great coaches in the NFL.
After it went viral, Steelers Nation wasn't having it (check our Facebook page for the intense conversation that's been going on), and neither was the team, as they fought for a come-back victory against their hated rivals on Christmas Day, winning the AFC North and securing a playoff spot with a 31-27 victory. Although not specifically mentioned, I'm sure that Bradshaw's incorrect and way off-base comments were motivation for the team, who stepped up in the fourth quarter for the hard fought win. In my story last week, I had stated "What won't be shocking is Tomlin's probable reaction to Bradshaw's statement, which will probably revolve around him stating that he isn't focused on comments from Bradshaw or anyone else as he's focused on beating the Ravens on Sunday, winning the AFC North, getting back to Steelers' football and winning their seventh Super Bowl. Maybe that would change Bradshaw's mind. But I doubt that Tomlin would care."
Well today Tomlin addressed Bradshaw's comments and, as predicted, it was pure Tomlin.
"I appreciate the support. But criticism and critique are very much a part of our business," Tomlin said. "It's an element of our business that as a competitor I embrace. The term 'great,' that's something I have a great deal of respect for. I certainly don't think that my résumé to this point reads as great. But very few coaches' resumes read as that at this point. Guys like Bill [Belichick] in New England probably can say that, Pop [Gregg Popovich] down in San Antonio. I think the rest of us are just working stiffs, to be quite honest with you."
But he was just warming up, and had to let Bradshaw know a little something before moving on from the subject.
"That being said, terms like ‘cheerleader guy,' to me, maybe fall outside the bounds of critique or criticism. They probably fall more to the area of disrespect or unprofessional,” Tomlin said. “But what do I know. I grew up a Dallas fan. Particularly a Hollywood Henderson fan."
For you old school Steelers fans, it could be noted that Tomlin was possibly taking a shot a Bradshaw's intelligence that Henderson questioned before Super Bowl XIII, saying Bradshaw was so dumb, "He couldn’t spell cat if you spotted him the ‘c’ and the ‘a.' Although Henderson apologized for that statement almost 20 years later, the damage was done.
Tomlin continued on in Tomlin fashion, letting his actions speak louder than his words.
"I believe that stability is a function of winning. I stay focused on winning," Tomlin said. "If I don't win, I'd imagine you'd be looking at me packing boxes like everybody else. That's the nature of this job and this level. And I respect it as such."
And with his impressive coaching resume, the way he handles himself and how he manages his team, we respect Tomlin as such.