Sunday, January 21, 2007

You Heard it Here First -- The Last Update of this Update of this Posting

Update -- January 21, 2007 9:40PM (PST)
Both major newspapers in Pittsburgh are now in agreement -- Mike Tomlin is the latest 34-year old defensive coordinator to become head coach of the Steelers. According to the report in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (which itself reported Saturday night that soon-to-be former Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Line Coach Russ Grimm had been chosen as the new head coach): "Kevin Colbert, the Steelers director of football operations, began phoning players Sunday night and informing them the team had hired Tomlin.

Alan Faneca, one of the team's offensive captains, confirmed that Colbert had called him with news of Tomlin's hiring, but the All-Pro guard declined further comment
."

Update -- January 21, 2007 4:55PM (PST)
Two of the best sports writers anywhere are Gerry Dulac and Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. So when they co-author an article you can be sure that the information contained therein is accurate.

Therefore it is safe to say that Mike Tomlin is the new Steelers head coach.

According to an article at post-gazette.com the team and Mr. Tomlin's representative are working out the details of a four year contract with an option for a fifth season.

Update -- January 21, 2007 7:47 AM (PST)
It's a battle of dueling sources.

The following is an excerpt from an item in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Russ Grimm has been offered and has accepted the Steelers' head coaching position, a source in Pittsburgh confirmed late Saturday.

Grimm, 47, succeeds Bill Cowher, who coached the Steelers for 15 seasons before resigning Jan. 5. The hiring of Grimm will be announced Monday at a news conference
."

I'm so glad that the "real" media is so much more reliable than the blogosphere.

Original Posting
A few days ago Pittsburgh Steelers Fanatic projected -- ok, guessed -- that Mike Tomlin was about to become the next head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Now, after rank conjecture from SI.com comes word from team sources -- via a report from ESPN.com -- that Mr. Tomlin is indeed set to become head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

"The Pittsburgh Steelers plan to name Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator Mike Tomlin as their new head coach, ESPN's Chris Mortensen confirmed Saturday night.

Sources told Mortensen that the team would announce Tomlin as coach either Sunday or Monday. Tomlin would become only the third Steelers coach in 38 years, and the first black head coach in their 74-year history.

Tomlin, a former Tampa Bay assistant, has been the coordinator for just one season under Brad Childress in Minnesota. Before that, he was a Buccaneers' secondary coach, a five-year spell that included installation of the teams' trademark 'Tampa-2' scheme. He was an assistant coach in the collegiate ranks from 1995 to 2000.

Sports Illustrated's Web site, SI.com, first reported that Pittsburgh had decided on Tomlin earlier Saturday. Steelers owner Dan Rooney told The Associated Press he had no comment. Team president Art Rooney II, leaving the team's practice complex Saturday, said he had nothing to say.

A person with knowledge of the search denied Tomlin has been hired, telling the AP that not only has the job not been offered but there have been no contract negotiations. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the Steelers do not want details of the search made public until they have made their choice.

Tomlin and Grimm, the Steelers' offensive line coach and only remaining in-house candidate, both had their second interviews earlier this week. The Steelers couldn't talk to Rivera again until the Bears are eliminated from the playoffs. Chicago plays New Orleans in the NFC Championship Game on Sunday
."

What remains to be seen is how many of the current Steelers assistants -- all of whom are under contract for 2007 -- will be retained, and whether or not changes in either the offensive or defensive schemes will be forthcoming; and if so how do will those changes affect the Steelers' draft strategy (more about that here this week).

Obviously the hope here is that all the coaches will be offered the opportunity to remain with the organization, however it may be very difficult for Russ Grimm to stay on after having competed for the top job.

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