Pittsburgh Steelers head coach, Mike Tomlin has been with the franchise since 2007, and the only person at this point whose probably been with the organization longer (other than the Rooney family), is outgoing general manager, Kevin Colbert.
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Tomlin and Colbert share a special relationship unlike any other head coach/general manager tandem, and it stems back to when Tomlin first came to the Steel City.
Mike Tomlin opens up about first meeting Kevin Colbert
This past week, Tomlin joined the Bleav in Steelers podcast hosted by Mark Bergin and former Steelers 2x Super Bowl Champion cornerback, Ike Taylor. Tomlin was able to share an incredible and impactful experience of when he first arrived as head coach in Pittsburgh, and how it was Colbert’s openness to let Tomlin be himself, that catapulted their friendship into what it is today — and eventually, also led to their tremendous success:
“First of all, Kevin was in a position to receive me. He was established here when I got here. And so his willingness to be open about my presence and my views was the catalyst or the foundation for our relationship, man. So he deserves the credit, man, for just being a guy that was established here and being open.”
“And to be honest with you, as we look toward our next GM, whoever that may be, that’s one of the things that is really resonating with me, that I have an obligation to make that person feel welcome and to be open to them and what they bring, because that’s what was provided to me. As we grew together and gained cohesion over the years, we’re very much like minded in that we don’t have an agenda, man. Football is our game. Our business is winning. We don’t care who gets the credit, and we like to work. Some people like to talk, man, and that’s okay too. Kevin and I are a lot alike in that way that we prefer to work as opposed to talk. And so there were a lot of things that brought us together in terms of our approach to business that made us a good partnership.”
Tomlin finished by confirming where he believed the credit was due.
“We like to work. We don’t care who gets the credit. We’re singularly professionally focused. But, man, in recent days and weeks, as it becomes evident that we’re in this new search, I’m just really appreciative of that foundation that was laid and really initiated by him in terms of his willingness and openness, in terms of being accepting to me as a new coworker.”
This relationship has led to two Super Bowl victories, three Conference Championships, nine division titles, and 14 playoff berths.
The emotions are still high knowing that Colbert is finally stepping down as Pittsburgh’s general manager, but the impact he’s left on Tomlin and the Steelers organization as a whole has been one of the largest footprints ever left in all of sports.
Watch the full interview here.
Thoughts on Tomlin’s memories of Colbert and how they’ve ultimately impacted this franchise? Click to comment below!