Another Steelers Super Bowl wasn’t in the cards this season as Mike Tomlin’s third AFC Championship ended in defeat. The Patriots’ emphatic 3-TD win told us a couple of things about the state of the NFL right now.
We know the Steelers are a damn good team, whose performance was hurt by the loss of the league’s all-purpose python Le'Veon Bell. We know that Tomlin is a down ass coach and the franchise is in good hands with a guy who makes the playoffs 70 percent of the time. After all, you have to be in it to win it. The history of Brady and Belichick affirms that.
With all of their success, they still endured a nine-year Super Bowl drought in which they lost some huge games and people were suggesting that Tom Brady’s career was ending, before stealing another c’hip from the clutches of Russell Wilson and Seattle in 2014.
Becoming a dynasty is a process. You need the right coach, quarterback, division and a little luck. You need resilience and you have to have an edge.
People will say Tomlin got out coached by Belichick. Yes, he did and not just on the field. Antonio Brown’s posting of a private locker room speech in which Tomlin called the Pats “Assholes” was a major fail for the team and for Tomlin. Belichick’s iron curtain retains all drama within the confines of the team and the Patriots organization as best as he can, especially during the playoffs. He deflects questions with a manicured genius and doesn’t allow the biggest of scandals to affect the team’s preparation or performance.
Brown’s subpar performance on Sunday was a red flag, but definitely something Tomlin can help his guy improve on for next season’s run. As a Super Bowl winning coach, he still has to teach cats how to be champions and put some tighter reigns on his players, which is something Belichick does to perfection.
Did you notice that Michael Floyd was inactive for the game? The Pats picked him up after he was cut from the Cardinals after footage of him drunkenly passed out at the wheel of his car, being awoken by police and arrested surfaced. Floyd still has talent and can definitely help the Pats, but if he doesn’t do it Big Bill’s way then he’s getting scratched and they are moving on.
But as great as Belichick is, he still got out-coached by legendary Giants head honcho Tom Coughlin in two Super Bowl losses. He’s beatable.
But most every coach in the NFL has been methodically and strategically stomped out by Belichick at one time or another since Brady assumed the helm in that 2001 playoff game in which Drew Bledsoe got injured-- better known throughout NFL circuits as “The hit that changed history.”
Sunday’s loss is another great learning experience for Tomlin, a young don who one day would like to be considered the NFL’s master-chess head coach.
We learned that he has to get better at seizing the moment. He has to coach with a greater sense of “urgency” and not like a kid who is playing youth tee-ball for his dad. Meaning, his job security which we know is as secure as anyone’s in the game, can’t be used as a crutch. I didn’t see much creativity in Pittsburgh’s offensive approach. The defensive intensity was deplorable. He should be even more driven by the insults of Terry Bradshaw labeling him simply as a "cheerleader" and those who question his coaching prowess.
Right now, the Pats own the show, but Belichick is pushing 70 and there will be plenty of time for Tomlin, just 44 years old, to learn and continue to build the Steelers winning brand and impress his developing style on the franchise until the front office, coaching staff and players become one meticulously functioning and deadly-consistent unit like the Pats currently are.
I Believe The QBs Are Our Future
The Pats were able to upgrade from a borderline to probable Hall of Famer in Drew Bledsoe, which is pretty much what Big Ben is, to a mythical figure in Tom Brady. Most franchises don’t upgrade like that.
The quarterback who follows Roethlisberger within these next five years will determine a large portion of Tomlin’s fate going forward. If he can upgrade a position that has given you over 47,000 career passing yards and more than 300 TD'S tossed, that would put him in the driver's seat to do some incredible things as a coach in his 50's.
You can’t do it any better in the first 10 years of your career than Tomlin has done. There’s no reason why the Steelers can’t be back in this AFC Championship game next season with the same loaded offense.
We learned that once again the Patriots are great. Not to be lost in the sauce is the fact that the Steelers' future is straight and they will get another crack at the champs next season.