Pittsburgh Steelers

Tomlin Plays Scrooge at Press Conference

Brad JamesCorrespondent IDecember 24, 2008

Herein we have a man whose no-nonsense attitude has the Pittsburgh Steelers primed and poised to go on a long playoff run.

Mike Tomlin, one of the better coaches to emerge from the Tony Dungy coaching tree, (and obviously one of the few enjoying a successful season) hasn't earned a 21-10 record thus far in nearly two seasons as the Steelers coach by acquiescing to the demands of levity.

Thus, when Santa came, in the guise of Washington, Pa.-based sportscaster Bill DiFabio, I appreciate the fact that Tomlin took a break from his usual comments to give Santa some love.

However, coaches are always irritable after a loss, especially one to a team like the Tennessee Titans, who not only seized home field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs from the Steelers, but also stomped on the sacred terrible towels.

I have a co-worker who grew up in Latrobe, Pa. during the glory years of the 70's and has admitted to me her once unrequited crush on Rocky Bleier.

Additionally, she has a terrible towel and gets really irritable when anyone mocks it, especially another co-worker who loves the Cowboys.

Now, obviously the Steelers are a team that appertains to tradition perhaps more than any other. In decades of leadership under the Rooneys, there have been three coaches since the merger and a legacy of hard work and no-nonsense football has unfolded.

Oddly enough, DiFabio's presence as Santa has also been a tradition, but in a "maverick" move for Pittsburgh, Tomlin unceremoniously dismissed him.

Now, perhaps Tomlin could lighten up just a bit and get in touch with his inner Omar Epps, but lest the Steelers be unprepared for the anemic Browns this Sunday, I guess I can get with him here.

Obviously, Tomlin wants to put the memories of last season's disappointing playoff loss to the Jaguars behind him, so with a flick of his wrist, Tomlin lofted DiFabio a gem Terry Bradshaw (or at the least Mike Tomczak) would have been proud of in hopes that he would leave.

Thus, when NFL historians look back at the Steelers way back in 2008 and see one of the few men to coach in this blue collar community who bucked a team tradition, Tomlin will be lauded not only as a champion (he'll win a Super Bowl eventually, hopefully Jay Cutler and the Broncos will win more), but as one who told an annoying reporter to shut up.

As a reporter myself, I hope that when I interview a coach, this will never happen to me.

Thanks for showing me what not to do DiFabio and props to Tomlin who, much like his mentor, is a man of integrity.

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