The Pittsburgh Steelers are on the verge of clinching their seventh playoff appearance in 10 seasons under head coach Mike Tomlin, though Hall of Fame quarterback Terry Bradshaw isn't impressed by the man leading the team with which he won four Super Bowl titles.
During an appearance on Fox Sports 1's Speak For Yourself with Colin Cowherd and Jason Whitlock (h/t ESPN.com's Jeremy Fowler), Bradshaw offered his thoughts on Tomlin.
"I don't think he's a great coach at all," Bradshaw said. "He's a nice coach. To me, I've said this, he's really a great cheerleader guy. I don't know what he does. I don't think he is a great coach at all. His name never even pops in my mind when we think about great coaches in the NFL."
There are many tasks a head coach in any sport has to handle. Part of the job of an NFL head coach is devising a game plan, but it also encompasses galvanizing a roster of unique players with different personalities.
While Bradshaw's comments don't paint a nice picture of Tomlin, they aren't completely wrong, with Steven Ruiz of USA Today offering this assessment of Pittsburgh's coach in May when he power ranked all 32 NFL head coaches:
Tomlin might not be as hands-on when it comes the X's and O's as some other coaches on this list, but his players always play hard for him. And he's done a good job handling his assistants. When he was given the job, Tomlin was smart enough to leave Dick LeBeau in charge of the defense instead of installing his own scheme. And the unpopular hire of Todd Haley has turned out to be a brilliant move.
Tomlin staying more hands-off with his approach may knock him down some coaching ranks, which might be what Bradshaw is talking about. But it's important to remember how successful Tomlin has been with the franchise, which Ruiz did by ranking him sixth among all coaches on his preseason list.
Steelers director of communications Burt Lauten felt compelled to defend Tomlin after Bradshaw's comments:
The Steelers are on the verge of making the playoffs for the third consecutive season and are currently riding a five-game winning streak. They have played in two Super Bowls, winning in 2008, and haven't finished under .500 in Tomlin's decadelong run with the franchise.
There are a lot of NFL franchises that would be thrilled by that kind of consistent success and leadership provided by Tomlin.