At the time of the call everyone thought it was horrible, and probably still do. This was a call that may have put Tomlin's short coaching career in jeopardy if Pittsburgh had lost.
However, I see this as the best call of all time (besides Belichick's call to give his own team a safety in strategy to win a game). There are just so many questions I want to ask about this.
Why did the Steelers pick up the ball knowing that it hadn't been kicked far enough? Was this penalty intentional? What would have happened if they didn't kick the onside kick?
Maybe that last question right there, THAT QUESTION. Maybe that is the question that is going through Mike Tomlin's head at this very moment, and even during the time he made this call.
It was obvious at the time of the call that Pittsburgh's defense wasn't stopping Rodgers, and that Green Bay's defense wasn't stopping Roethlisberger.
Here is the situation:
There is approxamitely 4 minutes left. If you choose a normal kickoff there is the option for Green Bay to score slowly and run down the clock. With the Packers being on Pittsburgh's 40 they are almost guranteed to score unless it is a 3 & out. It is not distrusting your defense completely. This is giving every part of your team a chance. The defense gets a chance to show that they could stop Rodgers (which they could not) and your offense gets the ball back quicker. The only way Green Bay could run out the clock with that little field to work with is to.. well.... not score at all.
I know this sounds crazy, exspecially with all of the criticizm Tomlin has received lately, but I think this may be the call of the decade; just in the knick of time.
Scenario 1: Kick the onside kick, force Green Bay to score quickly, or shut them down quickly. Then have plenty of time to do your own thing. This is what happened.
Scenario 2: Go for the onside kick, RECOVER it, then score about as quickly as Green Bay would have, or be shut down. Then Give Green bay an opportunity with less time to run out than.....
Scenario 3: A normal kick is called, Green Bay either scored again, just as they have the rest of the game, or gets shut down. Green Bay runs the clock down to 10-50 seconds in the process; all hope is lost in Heinz field.
From every angle, this now seems like the perfect call was made.
This is coming from someone who loves the Packers, and hates the Steelers.
Mike Tomlin is a GENIUS!