Tomlin’s words loom as Steelers prepare to face Bengals

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Last Sunday night, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin made waves by deviating from the coachspeak playbook and talking openly about not one but two upcoming showdowns against the Patriots. The potential consequences of Tomlin’s decision to discuss the proverbial “elephant in the room” could arise both in December, and again in January.

I know, I know. We in the media abhor coachspeak. It’s predictable, it’s boring, it’s useless. But does that mean we should blindly praise an excursion into non-coachspeak that could create real problems for the coach who decided to speak that way?

For Tomlin, the problem arises from the fact that the Steelers play the Bengals and Ravens before facing the Patriots the first time. And, surely, the Bengals and Ravens will be using his words to provide the players with extra motivation to humble the Steelers before their definite date with the Patriots.

A separate problem arises in January, as the Steelers (if they secure a bye) prepare to face an opponent in the divisional round, with a return match against the Patriots on the line. Surely, whichever team has the task of traveling to Pittsburgh will be playing Tomlin’s words, over and over again, pointing out that he chose to look past that team before even knowing who that team would be.

But don’t take my word for it, as if you ever would. Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette explains how bulletin board material once bit Bill Cowher in the butt, specifically as it relates to an AFC title game against the Patriots from nearly 16 years ago.

“There was no week off between the title games and the Super Bowl that year,” Bouchette writes. “Cowher said the Steelers would take a day early in the week before the title game to make preparations for the Super Bowl. After the Patriots upset them, New England players brought up the Steelers’ Super Bowl preparations as a motivating factor.”

Tomlin knows personally the potential impact of bulletin-board fodder. A decade ago, former Steelers safety Anthony Smith guaranteed a win against the unbeaten Pats. The Steelers lost, and Smith found himself the target of repeated Tom Brady passes.

“The safety play at that position was pretty inviting,” Brady said after the game, via Bouchette. “We’ve played against a lot better safeties than him, I’ll tell you that.”

While this specific incident of bulletin-board fodder will do nothing to fire up the Patriots, it will indeed give other teams an extra kick. And it definitely raises the stakes, both for the next two  games — and in six weeks, when the Steelers likely will have to hold serve at home in order earn the rematch.

So if Tomlin can think about beating that team without even knowing who it is, I can say this: Whoever it is in the divisional round, that team will give the Steelers everything they can handle.

24 responses to “Tomlin’s words loom as Steelers prepare to face Bengals

  1. It only matters if the team that felt slighted wins, then they talk it up as a reason for the win. If they lose, crickets.

  2. commentawaitingdeletion says:
    December 3, 2017 at 10:13 am
    The Steelers are a pretty formidable team this season but not without some flaws and Tomlin is the biggest of them.
    —-
    Yep.

  3. No one ever said that the ‘cheerleader’ had much sense. He can’t game-plan, he can’t make in-situ adjustments during a game and he certainly can’t coach. Too bad that he’s now making a fool of himself on national TV. Perhaps he just got ‘tripped-up’, eh?

  4. Here we go with the alternative universes again.

    That which we the fan fed by the media create.

    And the true reality between the lines.

    They really don’t ever intersect.

    Even the unfortunate case of Anthony Smith.

    The interview scrum when he said went something like this…check the tape.

    INTERVIEWER: “Can you beat the Patriots?”
    SMITH: “Sure, why not?”
    INTERVIEWER: “Do you guarantee it?”
    SMITH: “Uh, uh, well yes.”

    Whatever happens in these games…any games…has nothing to do with anyone here.

  5. Nothings change today….3 of the first 5 comments are from Patriot trolls with a need to flaunt their intelligence…..wasting their time.

    If a team needs bulletin board material to win they are just not that good.

  6. The Patriots have some flaws like everyone else, but what I appreciate is that they don’t lay down for anyone. Even if they are down, they fight to the end. I’ve watched teams like the Redskins and Giants flat out quit during games and wonder how their fans even come back the next week.

  7. The Ravens and Bengals are both playing better ball than they have all year. Tomlin could very well be eating his words and watching a sure division title slip away. But I doubt it.

  8. commentawaitingdeletion says:
    December 3, 2017 at 10:13 am
    The Steelers are a pretty formidable team this season but not without some flaws and Tomlin is the biggest of them.

    38 14 Rate This

    —————-

    how are they “formidable”? struggling with inferior teams?

    tomlin sucks, they have immature and low iq players because tomline is immature and low iq

  9. Nofoolnodrool says:
    December 3, 2017 at 11:13 am
    Nothings change today….3 of the first 5 comments are from Patriot trolls with a need to flaunt their intelligence…..wasting their time.

    If a team needs bulletin board material to win they are just not that good.

    —-

    So does anyone else see the IRONY in this guy calling other people “trolls”

    You will see at least 2-3 comments from him on ANY Patriots related article.

  10. omg Tomlin may just have fired up the Bengals and Ravens! What’s that gonna do, inspire Flacco to pass for 130 yards instead of the usual 120?

    It amazes me what the trash storms the media will create out of nothing.

    As for poor Anthony Smith, he was set up by some local media type who forced him into making that “guarantee” after repeatedly badgering the guy to the point where he said it just to shut up the reporter. It’s not like he volunteered “hey I guarantee we’re gonna beat New England” out of the blue. So Brady was just a shmuck for making such a big deal out of it.

  11. how are they “formidable”? struggling with inferior teams?

    tomlin sucks, they have immature and low iq players because tomline is immature and low iq

    Thru your many posts on here I detect at best a ninth grade education and a room temp IQ. Tomlin is a graduate of William and Mary thus you can’t caddy for him at the next Mensa meeting Tomlin attends.

  12. He’s lucky he doesn’t have to coach this week. The bengals never deviate from their stale game plan vs the steelers and Pitt knows this. They just control the clock, take what the bengals d gives and let their pressure defense lean on the Bengals offense who always gets off to a slow start and plays from behind, then they implode. It’s beyond frustrating watching the same garbage from Marvin. At least he could give us one last win vs the Steelers before he leaves.

  13. ‘Nothings change today….3 of the first 5 comments are from Patriot trolls with a need to flaunt their intelligence…’

    When it comes to intelligence using it isn’t flaunting it. Since you obviously don’t have it I thought it would be helpful to let you know how that works. Now be sure to bump up my spot on your ever increasing target list. Watching you continuously stub your toes futilely assailing the people that have bested you is one of the more entertaining things that happens here.

  14. @ampatsisahypocrite

    That “Schmuck” you mention has a career regular season winning percentage of .780 against the entire league (.735 in playoffs vs top competition), and a .825 winning percentage against the formidable Steelers. I’m just sayin’…

  15. When it comes to intelligence using it isn’t flaunting it. Since you obviously don’t have it I thought it would be helpful to let you know how that works. Now be sure to bump up my spot on your ever increasing target list. Watching you continuously stub your toes futilely assailing the people that have bested you is one of the more entertaining things that happens here.

    13

    Throwing up your heads and saying I win is something Major Winchester would do on MASH.. Dont be mad being called a troll….it obviously agrees with you.. …and how does the bait taste?

  16. We in the media abhor coachspeak and complain about it all the time, then when we don’t get it we’ll sensationalize the non-coachspeak and use it against them.

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