Only last month, Pittsburgh Steelers
were denied a crucial touchdown against the New England Patriots
, thanks to the devious NFLs rules. What came as a complete surprise to most people is the fact that the Patriots have been pitted against the Jacksonville Jaguars
this Sunday, when Steelers’ odds of taking part in a playoff seemed so high.
Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh Steelers’ head coach has been on the receiving end for the last couple of days following the Steelers’ dismal showing in their loss to Jacksonville last Sunday. Fans who have been following the championship can rightly argue that Tomlin and his team have been a major let down, only a season after Steelers’ odds had gone high after enjoying his most successful regular season since taking the reins 11 years ago.
Luck on Patriots’ side
NFL’s confounding catch rule applied to give Patriots a27-24 advantage against the Steelers, even after the latter had comfortably secured the AFC North by four games. It is worth noting, the controversial Ben Roethlisberger’s touchdown pass to Jesse James in the dying minutes against New England in mid December was overturned.
Disbelief in the dressing room
Confidence was constantly diminishing amongst the Pittsburgh Steelers
according to some unnamed players after the setback. From starting offas AFCs No. 2 seeds in the playoffs, and even getting a walk-over in the first round, better was expected from Tomlin’s men. Jaguars did not find the going easy against Buffalo Bills
even though they eventually emerged 10-3 winners in a wild-card game.Back in October,
had given Pittsburg a 30-9 hiding, the heaviest the Steelers have suffered under Tomlin. However, Pittsburgh went on a roll, winning 10 in 11 games, the only defeat coming in the hands of the Patriots, the Super Bowl reigning champions.
Perennial failure in management and game preparation?
That could define Tomlin. As exhibited against the Jaguars when Steelers were chasing the game after going down 21-0, players showed everysign of ill-preparedness and mental weakness.
Flashback to Tomlin’s first game in charge in 2007
Coincidentally also a wild-card loss to Jacksonville Jaguars
, schoolboy mistakes were committed, notably the 2-point conversion attempt. This time around, Tomlin bottled it when he went for the onside kick which was butchered by Pittsburgh and successfully converted into a winning field goal by the Jags.During the end-of-season press conference on Tuesday, Tomlin was asked to comment on the onside kick among other questionable decisions he made.
Some circles have called for the dismissal of Tomlin, but it appears an unpopular opinion, at least until there is every reason to believe he has lost it all in and out of the dressing room. This has to be Tomlin’s most torrid season as Pittsburgh’s head coach, previously having played in 8 play-offs, winning a Super Bowl, and reaching a final once.
Those opposed to Tomlin argue that he has had all the machinery to perform at his disposal, but he has been incapable of bringing glory to Pittsburgh. Dry spell of some sort! Case in point, Green Bay Packers roared during Mike Holmgren’s reign, making it six consecutive playoffs from 1993 – 1998 and staying in the cold until 2007. That was Mike McCarthy’s season number 2 in charge. That notwithstanding,
Tomlin’s record can only be bettered by Don Shula in terms of win percentage in the 11 years they’ve served as head coaches respectively. Shula achieved that with Miami Dolphins
and Baltimore Colts.