Mike Tomlin has responded to criticism from Steelers legend Terry Bradshaw. He was not pleased with Bradshaw’s characterization of him as a “cheerleader guy” and invoked a former Cowboys player to take a subtle jab at the Hall of Fame quarterback.
In a session today with the media, picked up by Larry Brown Sports, Tomlin said the following:
Terms like cheerleader guy, to me, maybe fall outside of bounds of critique or criticism. They probably fall more toward the area of disrespect and unprofessional. But what do I know? I grew up a Dallas fan. Particularly a (Thomas) ‘Hollywood’ Henderson fan.
Well played by Tomlin, remains above the fray while also getting in a little dig. For those unaware, Hollywood Henderson once said Terry Bradshaw “couldn’t spell ‘cat’ if you spotted him the ‘c’ and the ‘a.'”
Tomlin also said, when responding to Bradshaw’s criticism:
I appreciate the support. But criticism and critique are very much a part of our business. It’s an element of our business that as a competitor I embrace. The term ‘great,’ that’s something I have a great deal of respect for. I certainly don’t think that my resume to this point reads as great. But very few coaches’ resumes read as that at this point. Guys like Bill in New England probably can say that, Pop down in San Antonio. I think the rest of us are just working stiffs to be quite honest with you.
If you’re paying attention, the comments made by Bradshaw is another example of coded language. By invoking the term “cheerleader guy” it implies that Tomlin is not involved in the tactical elements of what happens on the field. Or worse, that he’s not intelligent enough to be involved. I’ve stated before, in the modern NFL, the head coach is a CEO. Tomlin oversees all aspects of the team, and has people he trusts managing each component. Much like what former Steeler head coach coach Bill Cowher did.
Tomlin is a very self aware man and has accomplished a few things in his tenure as Steelers head coach. A Super Bowl title, another appearance, five division crowns, and seven playoff trips in ten years. Not too bad, and he is still going.