Dunlap: Are Some Of Steelers' Processes Antiquated?

Colin Dunlap
December 13, 2018 - 6:34 am
Mike Tomlin

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan)- This isn't a call to action. Don't get this misconstrued. I'm not pounding my fist on the table and saying Mike Tomlin needs to be fired. 

Much of that has happened around town and, if the Steelers lose to the Patriots on Sunday and then again next weekend against the Saints (all very conceivable) Tomlin's approval rating will plummet to the lowest it has ever been in his career.

What this column is, however, is a call for the Steelers to take a deep, long look into their processes. 

That is to say, could some of the ways they do business be antiquated? 

Could the Steelers' method of operating be going the way of the typewriter and daily newspaper? Could they be doing the old that's-the-way-we've-always'done-it routine and, for really the first time, it starting to have a deep detrimental impact?

Let's start with Tomlin. 

We all know how this is going to work. 

He's safe. 

He's going to be safe. 

His job is not in jeopardy. 

The Steelers won't nix a coach after one bad season. 

But after the embarrassing loss to Jacksonville in the playoffs last season and now what could turn disastrous in the last three games, shouldn't the Steelers at least consider a coaching change? 

One would think the Steelers should investigate if, in fact, Tomlin's message is getting stale. 

We know, however, the coach is safe --- if for nothing more than because the Rooney family doesn't cycle through coaches. They've had, what, three coaches since 1782 or whatever that stat is? 

Such a philosophy also falls in line with how the Rooney family negotiates contracts. 

Once training camp closes shop, so too do negotiations. If you don't have a contract by the time the regular season starts, damn you, the Rooneys are done talking. 


Well...that's the way they have always done it.

Seems a tiny bit antiquated to me. It doesn't feel as if it has come back to bite them to this point, but it seems a measure of unnecessary "we are the boss!" inflicted down on the player and his agent and also pushes forth an arbitrary timeline in getting a deal done. 

Again, why? 

Some will also say the lack of guaranteed money the Steelers offered Le'Veon Bell was an antiquated way of doing business. While I don't fully agree with them, it is tough to look at the Steelers' running back situation right now and not think that Bell could help them. It's also impossible to know if Bell would have jumped at a contract that had some more guaranteed money, but that appeared to always be the sticking point. 

Why didn't the Steelers offer more in the way of guaranteed cash? Well, that's the way they have always done business. They are the Steelers! They don't offer that much. 

Also, where is the analytics guy or person employed to take the replay challenge duties out of Tomlin's hands -- or at least help him? It doesn't appear there is one. 

Mike Tomlin has grossly mismanaged both end-game clock situations and challenging replays. In this day, it would seem logical with all the technology available to have someone in the coaches box assisting Tomlin in one or both endeavors. 

Other NFL teams have such a person. 

Heck, with the Pirates and Penguins we know the names of both replay men and they have proven to make a difference in games. 

Yet, in a sport and league where replay is so, so pivotal, the Steelers don't have such a person.

Why? Well, part of it is Tomlin has said he manages the situation by feel and, you guessed it, that's the way he's always done it.

The way he's always done it isn't good enough. Times have changed, things and situations evolve. Many of us celebrate the stability and constants that are the Pittsburgh Steelers. 

And we should. 

It has been what has made the franchise so strong. There also comes a time when processes need to change. The Steelers simply need to evolve with the NFL or, as you can see, they run the risk of getting left behind in some areas.      

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