Joey Porter firing could be shot across the bow at Mike Tomlin

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Changes are indeed coming to Pittsburgh. And even more could be coming, if things don’t change in 2019.

The firing of outside linebackers coach Joey Porter, a move that many assume was made by coach Mike Tomlin but that history tells us could have been made a level or two higher than that, feels like something more than the periodic shuffling of an assistant coach whose time to go had come. It feels like a warning shot at Tomlin.

Look carefully at Tomlin’s statement; nothing in there says Tomlin made the decision to not give Porter a new deal. And based on the story told by former Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians regarding his own “retirement” from early 2012, it’s entirely possible that Tomlin wanted to keep Porter but wasn’t allowed to do so by ownership.

Given the broader context, with constant distractions on Tomlin’s watch and the stunningly bizarre decision by receiver Antonio Brown to go AWOL before a key Week 17 game, it could be that the organization has decided to impose on Tomlin’s team that kind of discipline that Tomlin in recent years hasn’t. And no member of the coaching staff showed less discipline in recent years than Porter.

On the field, it was his provocation of Pacman Jones during a playoff game that prompted a rule change. Off the field, an arrest two Januarys ago. Then there were the tales of Tomlin’s and Porter’s antics at local high-school football games.

Typically, coaches get fired when there’s a deficiency with the performance of the players for whom they are responsible. The Steelers’ outside linebackers are doing just fine. This just feels like it’s about something more than Xs and Os. It feels like it’s the first tangible step toward putting Tomlin on notice that a team that prides itself on having three coaches in 50 years is starting to be ashamed by the connection between lack of discipline and inability to compete for championships.

51 responses to “Joey Porter firing could be shot across the bow at Mike Tomlin

  1. He wasn’t fired. They just didn’t renew his contract.. you know there’s a difference right?

  2. It’s interesting that you think it’s stunningly bizarre? He was trying to hold the team hostage with his absence right? Hmmm, has Pittsburgh ever experienced that before?

  3. The Steelers lost to Tim Tebow and Blake Bortles in the playoff. One of the best RB’s and now one of the best WR’s doesn’t want to play anymore for Pittsburgh. Who can blame them? Let that all sink in the a moment. Hahaha

  4. Oh and one more thing -the Steelers should have lost to AJ mccarren too, but the Bengals Bengaled that day at the end of the game

  5. Tomlin is still in charge, so who cares. Until that clown is gone, welcome to 6-10
    once Ben retires,…face it between Tomlin and Bob Nutsack- thank God for the Penguins
    yes they got hosed in cleve- ball clearly hit Chubb’s helmet, hosed vs Chargers and Saints but this team can beat anyone and lose to anyone….every yr same story…where as New England every yr can beat everyone and maybe lose to 4 or 5 teams…Tomlin is just a below avg coach…on the flip side, scalping in 3-4 years will be dirt cheap !!!

  6. The Steelers OLBs are not fine. TJ Watt is great but it’s been a parade of crap otherwise. You can’t say the ILB situation is better.

  7. So do they have a different coach for middle/inside LB’s? Seems like an oddly specific title.

  8. whysosenestive445 says:
    January 4, 2019 at 4:12 pm
    He wasn’t fired. They just didn’t renew his contract.. you know there’s a difference right?

    ———-
    Semantics dude.

  9. In the broader context of Pitt’s ongoing dramas, this is at the bottom of the(long)list.

  10. Dan Rooney wasn’t influenced by fan tantrums, and I doubt Art II is, either. But it remains to be seen. I’m sure Rooney signed off on Joey’s dismissal, but equally sure it was Tomlin’s decision. Yes, the team could be better disciplined, though no team runs a ship a taut as Belichick’s . However, the bottom line is that, among active coaches, Tomlin has the fifth best regular-season winning percentage in the league. Factoring out Nagy and McVay, who’ve coached three years between them with no playoff wins, he’s third behind Belichick and Reid, who’s never won a Super Bowl. For all the criticism, Tomlin’s never had a losing season and has a better winning percentage than Noll or Cowher. And Rooney’s capable of doing the math.

  11. Mike Tomlin is a terrible coach plain and simple. Porter is his buddy who is also awful at coaching. They bring out the worst in each other. In 2019, I expect more of the same underachieving embarrassment I have witnessed since 2010 (when Tomlin still had most of Cowher’s players and staff). The best part of it is after Tomlin gets fired, another sucker team will hire him and without a HOF QB, he might go 0-32 and best Hue Jackson.

  12. pittspuke7 says:

    January 4, 2019 at 4:20 pm

    The Steelers lost to Tim Tebow and Blake Bortles in the playoff. One of the best RB’s and now one of the best WR’s doesn’t want to play anymore for Pittsburgh. Who can blame them? Let that all sink in the a moment. Hahaha

    So, the Patriots lost to Mark Sanchez in the playoffs…..with Tom Brady….in Foxborough. Never knew that a team should be defined by the QB they lost to in the playoffs.

  13. There have been issues with OLB development. Porter has had 3 1st round picks under his time there. 1 failed out, 1 is below average and 1 looks like a potential all pro. He was canned because he couldn’t get more out of Dupree. This was likely coming regardless of where the team finished. Butler and Smith are next.

  14. Steelers finished last in the AFC West this year losing to KC, Denver and the Raiders. They didnt play the Chargers, thank God, as LA would have mopped the field with the Pitts.

  15. Florio you may be on to something. I think ownership is FINALLY going to remove a lot of Tomlin’s authority. Like back in 2008-2010 when the team was good and he already had his whole staff doing all the work for him. Ever since he has taken over a lot of control, things have just gotten worse and worse.

  16. mlhigh says:
    January 4, 2019 at 4:44 pm
    Steelers finished last in the AFC West this year losing to KC, Denver and the Raiders. They didnt play the Chargers, thank God, as LA would have mopped the field with the Pitts.
    ————
    LA got like 3 gifted touchdowns by the officials….

  17. mlhigh says:

    Steelers finished last in the AFC West this year losing to KC, Denver and the Raiders. They didnt play the Chargers, thank God, as LA would have mopped the field with the Pitts.
    ——————————————
    When you’re scheduled to play a division, you play the entire division. Steelers did play the Chargers–and lost. But your point is well-taken.

  18. You do realize that Porter was the outside linebackers coach and his contract was not renewed. You don’t really make any sort of statement by not re-signing your outside linebackers coach.

  19. mlhigh says:

    January 4, 2019 at 4:44 pm

    Steelers finished last in the AFC West this year losing to KC, Denver and the Raiders. They didnt play the Chargers, thank God, as LA would have mopped the field with the Pitts.

    Umm….no. The Steelers finished 2nd in the AFC North and were swept by the entire AFC West including the Chargers. You know the game where the referees basically handed the Chargers 2 TDs and blundered an offsides call on the winning field goal at the end. Hardly a “mopping”.

  20. lack of discipline and inability to compete for championships

    That will define the Tomlin era with the Steelers. They should also add wasted opportunities.

  21. Re: the PGH OLBs are doing “just fine” –

    NO, they arent. He helped “develop” Jarvis Jones and Bud Dupree. The ONLY success at the position has been a guy who was super raw after only playing a year at the position in college (Watt).

    Most people following the team thought he’d be fired either last year or the year before.

    That being said, it still may not have been Tomlins choice.

  22. I don’t understand why Tomlin is still the coach. His head is above water only because of Ben!

  23. I don’t see Tomlin as a problem. In fact, I don’t see a lot of problems with the Steelers franchise, and haven’t for the last 40 years. They’re about as well run an organization as I’ve seen in any of the professional sports, since I’ve been watching. A down year for most teams is 4-12 or worse. A down year for the Steelers is 9-6-1. Lately it seems like the Steelers’ personnel people have chosen a couple talented individuals who turned out to have some slight character issues, but the coaching has been solid, as usual. The Steelers aren’t run like the Patriots where the coach has all the power. Guys like Terrell Owens, Charles Haley, Antonio Brown, etc., can’t be controlled by even the best coaches in history. Since Tomlin has been the Steelers coach, show me the long list of teams with a better record. Wait, let me get out my magnifying glass.

  24. whysosenestive445 says:
    January 4, 2019 at 4:12 pm
    He wasn’t fired. They just didn’t renew his contract.. you know there’s a difference right?
    ==========================================================================
    The difference is semantics. If they offered a new contract, he’d still be working there. They had no interest in maintaining the relationships with Porter.

    The Steelers dug their own grave here. They should have either dealt Bell or given him what he wanted. Instead, they created a three-ring circus. Who really knows if they lied to long time Steeler James Harrison last year or how any of this impacted Brown, but it’s all cumulative and Roethlisberger should stop calling out players on his radio show. The hardest thing to do in the NFL is maintain greatness. Give Pittsburgh credit for keeping it going for so long, so Tomlin gets a pass.

  25. Just did not renew. GM probably did not like guy. Plain and simple. Happens a lot, especially to bad actors like Joey Porter

  26. A shot across the bow? Is Tomlin 49% owner or something. They do realize they can just fire their coach and hire another one right? Teams do that from time to time when the organization falls apart.

  27. Tomlin should have been fired at least 6 years ago.

    Doesn’t know how to use timeouts or challenges. Doesn’t know what’s going on with time management, or critical game situations.

    Can’t handle talent (Santonio Holmes, Blount, Harrison, Bell, Brown come to mind).

    Can never get the team ready (late in the season the Steelers were 32nd in the league in 1st quarter scoring). 32nd in the league with that offense means people don’t come prepared.

    I saw one stat that he 6-5 against teams where the Steelers were favored by 17. The rest of the league was like 65-10.

    The only reason he is here is Hall of Fame talent barely getting him through games (even last years 13-3….half of the wins were last minute or so), along with the Rooney’s enjoying the idea of keeping the same coach there for as long as possible.

  28. aarons444 says:
    January 4, 2019 at 4:13 pm
    Porter = Burfict
    ___________________________________________________________________________________________

    Um, no. Burfict has never caused any issues off the field unlike scumbag Porter.

  29. This is a story about firing on-field instigator and ineffective coach Joey Porter and fans are ONCE AGAIN using the opportunity to whine about the refs in that beatdown by the Chargers!!!

    Enough of that already. You are embarrassing yourselves like never before.

  30. After years of underperforming, consistently losing to sub .500 teams, repeatedly mismanaging the play clock, allowing Diva players to run roughshod in the locker room and in the media, hiring bad coaches and the never ending lack of ability to make in game adjustments, I see no evidence that the Looneys will do ANYTHING to put a stop to this charade! Folks, we are LITERALLY watching the wheels fall off a once finely tuned machine, and it’s the greed and lethargy of the pedantic owners that are fiddling while the organization sinks into this abyss. They will not fire Tomlin, not this year and at no time in the foreseeable future. Dark days will continue folks. I hope I’m proven wrong, and they finally fire this overrated “coach”

  31. Umm….no. The Steelers finished 2nd in the AFC North and were swept by the entire AFC West including the Chargers. You know the game where the referees basically handed the Chargers 2 TDs and blundered an offsides call on the winning field goal at the end. Hardly a “mopping”.

    UNBELIEVABLE. THEY NEVER STOP WHINING

  32. Mr. Florio, you try too hard to read between lines when there may not be anything there to read in the first place. That and you’re desperate for the day Mike Tomlin actually does find ‘the hot seat’, for some reason. Maybe if/when it finally happens you finally get to say ‘Ah-Ha!! I was right!’ That being said, Mr. Florio, I still enjoy 98% of the things you put up here.

    I don’t think this was a shot accross Tomlin’s bow, really. I would think it’s more aimed at the bow of Kieth Butler. That doesn’t mean Rooney didn’t sit down with Tomlin and Colbert and spell out exactly how feels about how things are being handled as of late. That and then looking straight at Tomlin and saying something like; ‘it’s time to tighten up the reins and run your show with a firmer hand’.

    Porter’s job probably should have ended before this season began. The OLB’s may have had a solid year this season, but how long has it taken to get this far and where are they still lacking (?) I can’t help but wonder if maybe there’s too many cooks in the kitchen and that there will be just a LB’s coach vs Inside & Outside coaches.

    Given the fashion the Steelers missed the post-season, seats should be at least ‘warm’ in every room in the building.

  33. I agree that the shot across the bow was intended for Butler. Both he and the special teams have to go. This should be Tomlin’s last chance to get his act together.

    And yes, both the Chargers and Saints games were decided by the officials. But that’s not the reason we missed the playoffs. We missed the playoffs because once again, the Steelers play down to the competition.

    The league has to make a move to have full time officials, who are trained and can be fired if they don’t perform. No official should decide the outcome of a game, ever. Too many game changing questionable calls this year, not just against the Steelers, but across the NFL. And wbile I’m don’t discriminate because of age, can you really tell me that a 60 plus year old man can effectively cover the officiating around some of these wide receives and running backs? No way can they keep up.

  34. Well considering that Ben nearly didn’t come back this past season would lead one to believe he definitely won’t next year. Smartlybtaking rhe off season to quietly think about it.

    But consider what he was coming at to, a team with a great shot at winning the division full of new QBs. A top tier wr and back in brown and bell. Now consider what those QBs have done, and that bell and brown are all but off the team already.
    What will tomlin see if Ben decides to stay home that will drive him to want to come back himself?

    I see it at this one single team and it’s demise over the next 8 months will change the dynamic fir the entire league should brown and bell be traded to the NFC while tomlin and Ben retire.

    Amazing turn of events.

    Next up, patriots.

    All in all the AFC west will be the toughest in the leauge sans the crap fest in Denver that we get to be entertained by for a few years.

    If these top tier steelers stay inside the AFC, then Rooney has thrown up his hands.

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