The Pittsburgh Steelers have only had three head coaches since 1969, which is unfathomable in the NFL. The Steelers are the epitome of success and continuity that a lot of NFL teams strive for. Head coach Mike Tomlin just set an NFL record last season with coaching his 15th consecutive year without a losing season.
The Super Bowl XLIII winning head coach has had a lot of success in the Steelers organization since arriving in 2007, but like Steelers fans, Tomlin doesn’t “seek comfort” using those statistics. He’s just helping this team chase another one. Minkah Fitzpatrick, Chase Claypool, and Miles Boykin went on the Varsity House Podcast Wednesday and discussed several topics including what makes Coach Tomlin such a special coach to play for.
Show host, Shaun Crawford asks the question, “What are some things that you guys value from Coach Tomlin that’s probably kept him around so long?”
“I would say his transparency, he don’t care who you are, he don’t care what you’ve done, you know what I’m saying? He’s a straight shooter, he’s going to tell you the truth right to your face, he’s going to tell you the truth in front of the whole team whether it’s Ben [Roethlisberger], whether it’s me, you know what I’m saying?”
“He’s going to embarrass you, but it’s not because he’s trying to be you know an [butthole] hot shot, but it’s because he’s trying to get you better you know what I’m saying? He’s trying to motivate you, he’s trying to show other people in the room like it don’t matter what you’ve done if you just played a bad game you just played a bad game. We’ve got to work through it, you know what I’m saying? He’s also not going to degrade you or talk down to you, but he’s going to get on you for sure.”
“But he’s going to keep it real with you, and that’s what I respect a lot, because when you got a coach that can’t look you in the eye and tell you what it is or how it is, that’s not fun as a player. It’s not fair as a player and you don’t want to play for him, you know what I’m saying? But Coach T, he’s very transparent and he’s fun to play for because of his honesty, his transparency, and just his approach to the game.”
Claypool chimed in with what he thinks makes Coach Tomlin so valuable:
“I was going to say transparency, but on top of that is just his like relatability. I feel like he’ll talk about a lot of his own stories growing up, like his family and stuff like that. So not only do you look at him, obviously as like you know a really good coach, but you can start to feel like you know him a little bit because he tells stories about you know his mom and how his mom treated him.
And then he’ll go ahead and ask you, he’ll pull you aside maybe like, ‘how’s your family doing,’ or ‘is everything good,’ ‘is there anything I can do,’ so he does care, he truly does care for the players. He’ll make it so the players also also care for him because you know it’s like more personal level, I feel like, a relationship.”
Boykin, who has only been with the Steelers for a few months, has also noticed that Coach Tomlin is just different:
“You know, just the way he walks in and commands the room.”
“One of my favorite sayings that I’ve picked up on him already is when he’s talking about varsity versus junior varsity, like that term. He brought it up and it just resonated with me, because he said the reason why I say varsity or junior varsity is because we all know what that looks like everybody knows what varsity looks like, everybody knows what JV looks like.”
One thing about Coach Tomlin that we have always heard about him is that he’s a truth teller. He’ll humble you and let you know how you can be better for the whole group.
Check out the whole episode below!