The 2010 off-season was an off-season filled with horrendous news for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Ben Roethlisberger was accused of a sexual crime towards a women for the second straight year. Roethlisberger was then suspended for the first four games of the season. Santonio Holmes followed that up by getting in trouble in three different ways, he got suspended, and then traded to the New York Jets for a sixth round draft pick.
Yet, despite all of that, the Steelers made it all the way to the Super Bowl.
The Steelers lost to the Packers in the Super Bowl, and their off-season this year hasn't been much better. James Harrison called the commissioner the devil and gay, and said that he wouldn't piss on him if he was on fire. Harrison then threw both Rashard Mendenhall and Ben Roethlisberger under the bus, blaming them for the Steelers losing the Super Bowl.
Speaking of Mendenhall, who's fumble was costly in the Super Bowl, he can blame his twitter account for adding fuel to the Steeler's fire. Mendenhall tweeted about the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks being an inside job, and compared the NFL to slavery. Now Mendenhall is suing Champion sports for $1 million dollars because they fired him from his contract as a spokesman for the company.
Hines Ward pranced around on Dancing With the Stars and actually won the entire contest. The city of Pittsburgh actually held a "parade" celebration for Ward and his Mirror Ball trophy. Ward was then caught drunk driving in his home state of Georgia, in which he was issued a D.U.I.
Mix all that in with the Steelers coming off a Super Bowl loss, have had back and forth trash talk with division rival Baltimore Ravens, and the fact that they are about $10 million dollars over the cap, and the Steelers have pretty much had another rough off-season. Not be cliche or anything.
All of this during the NFL "lockout" which means that head coach Mike Tomlin, could not have contact, officially, with his players. Tomlin couldn't babysit and all heck broke loose! Now it looks as though the lockout is coming to an end, which means there will be training camp and a football season.
What is Tomlin supposed to say to these guys? Where does he start? Crack a joke? I hope it's a good one.This team is set up for a long season right now. The defense is getting older, the schedule is tough, and the locker room is a mess.
NFL.com had an article saying that Tomlin is the right guy for this.
Tomlin has done a tremendous job shepherding his team through what have been tumultuous off-seasons. He commands universal respect throughout the Steelers' locker room, and he's direct and unequivocal in how he addresses situations like this. Tomlin also has a long history with Harrison and knows the linebacker well, so he's uniquely equipped to handle this drama.
I really hope all of that is true. Sometimes it seems like Tomlin is a little too buddy-buddy with some of the players. Sometimes it's hard to imagine Steeler's players fearing Tomlin like they did with former head coach Bill Cowher. I admit that Tomlin is a better coach than Cowher was, but I don't think Cowher ever had to deal with this.
Which off-season was worse?
Tomlin has to be a tough coach come training camp, expressing that this stuff will not be tolerated. Will he do that? I sure hope so. If the Steelers lose games early this could get really ugly. People are already betting against this team, and honestly I can see why.
The Steelers made this season a lot tougher than it was already going to be. Tomlin now has to fix it along with making this team a better football team from a year ago. The one thing Tomlin has going for him is Art Rooney II, who I expect isn't happy with how things have gone at all. If Mr. Rooney can come back for a little while, I expect this team to settle down.
Cowher should thank his lucky stars social media wasn't around in his hey-day, it would have been ugly. I can't wait to hear Tomlin's first press conference.
Tomlin had a heck of a year last year with Roethlisberger being suspended, and dealing with key injuries and distractions. Now he has to deal with it all over again, following a loss in the Super Bowl. If this team makes the playoffs, Tomlin should be NFL Coach of the Year.