Steelers players now have one less reason to complain about safety rules. Their coach has joined the body that helps make them.
The NFL announced on Tuesday that Mike Tomlin will become the newest member of the Competition Committee. He replaces former Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt.
“I am humbled and honored to be selected to the Competition Committee by Commissioner [Roger] Goodell,” Tomlin said. “I am excited for the opportunity to help maintain and strengthen the NFL game, and I look forward to contributing any way that I can.”
“Coach Tomlin will bring additional strength to the Committee from the coaching perspective,” Goodell said. “Mike has strong, perceptive views about the game and is effective in expressing them. We look forward to his contributions to the Committee’s ongoing mission to improve the game.”
Part of Tomlin’s contributions could be getting his players to buy in. The volume (both in number and sound) of past complaints from Steelers players about changes to safety rules and the enforcement of rules already on the books suggested that the players were, to a certain extent, repeating things they heard in meeting rooms and at practice from their coaches. The NFL likely sensed that dynamic as well during the 2011 season; Tomlin and owner Art Rooney received an invitation to meet with Goodell after safety Ryan Clark received a $40,000 fine for a hit that Clark said Tomlin praised in the film room.
If Tomlin has been privately saying things to his players that cuts against the league’s efforts to make the game safer, it’ll be interesting to see how he sells to the locker room the fact that he will now be part of the body that he and his players previously believed to be part of the problem.