Monday, January 22, 2007

Ladies and Gentlemen, Mike Tomlin!

Mike Tomlin was introduced as the new head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers at an afternoon press conference, and thanks to the miracle of the internet Pittsburgh Steelers Fanatic was there. Here is some of what was discussed:
  • Art Rooney II introduced Mike Tomlin, and welcomed Mr. Tomlin and his family to the Steelers' organization and to Pittsburgh. Mr. Rooney also thanked Russ Grimm and Ron Rivera for their participation in the process of choosing the new head coach. Finally, Mr. Rooney thanked the Minnesota VIkings for their cooperation.

  • Mr. Rooney indicated that Mike Tomlin is "a good person," and that factor was first amongst all the considerations in choosing the new head coach. Mr. Rooney also indicated that Mike Tomlin's "core values" are consistent with the Steelers' organizational values; and that the team would continue play a brand of football that Steelers fans expect.

  • Mr. Tomlin confirmed that defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau will remain on the job, but declined to discuss the status of the other assistants.

  • Mr. Tomlin indicated that the new coaching regime will be "fundamentalist in our approach" to coaching, and that "Xs-andOs can be overrated at times." He declined to indicate what scheme(s) he would employ, saying instead that he preferred to put players in a position to excel.

  • Mr. Tomlin congratualated Lovie Smith and Tony Dungy for their success. He described Tony Dungy as a "life mentor," and said that his relationship with Mr. Dungy went well-beyond the football field.

  • His age is his age, and Mr. Tomlin does not anticipate it being a problem with the players. He does not think of himself as a 34-year old coach but just as a football coach.

  • Mr. Tomlin acknowledges the significance of two African-American coaches making it to the Super Bowl, and his own hiring in Pittsburgh, but he is happy for Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith as individuals, not as symbols.

  • Nothing in the interview process was surprising or confusing -- the Rooneys were very upfront about the process "and where it was going and how it was going."

  • Mr. Tomlin described himself as someone who tends to be calm, though he can be emotional at times.

  • Mr. Tomlin received the phone call from Art Rooney II on Sunday while in his basement watching football.

  • Mr. Tomlin is headed to Mobile, Alabama on Tuesday to scout players at the Senior Bowl.

  • Mr. Tomlin described Ben Roethlisberger as a "franchise quarterback."

  • One of the things that excites Mr. Tomlin about the Steelers is the team mentality that exists throughout the organization.

  • When asked how a collegiate wide receiver becomes a defensive coordinator, Mr. Tomlin replied "well, I wasn't a very good wide receiver!"

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