A recent article by John Steigerwald has once again put a dark cloud over the coaching reign of Mike Tomlin. If you haven’t heard by now, linebackers coach Joey Porter is in the news again. In the article , Porter is reported to have had several incidents at his son’s high school football games. One time the police were called in order to remove Porter from the field. The kicker in this story is that apparently Mike Tomlin was present during these incidents as well. His sons also attends North Catholic High School, where coincidentally former Steeler Jason Gildon was the head coach. Steigerwald also had an unnamed source accusing Tomlin of going on a profanity laced tirade about the officials in the North Catholic locker room. Gildon has since been fired, and both Tomlin’s and Porter’s kids have transferred from the high school.
All this comes on the heels of Joey Porter being temporarily suspended after his arrest during an incident in a Pittsburgh bar after the playoff win against Miami. Oh, and let’s not forget the playoff game versus the Bengals last season. If the referees had decided to throw a flag on Porter, rather then on the Bengals players the outcome would have been much different. I have one simple question, why in the world is Joey Porter still on this coaching staff?? It can’t possibly be his coaching talents. The outside linebackers have certainly been less then impressive since he took over. What kind of example is Porter setting for a team which seems already short on discipline? Is this a sign of a larger issue with Tomlin’s coaching style where there is a possible serious lack of discipline?
The offseason has not been kind to Tomlin despite it being less then two weeks old. The blowback from the Antonio Brown Facebook live scandal continues. Now even legendary Steeler Joe Greene, a man who is rarely heard from, has taken a shot at Brown for his antics. Then there’s the ongoing investigation over the Le’Veon Bell injury report situation. If Tomlin is found guilty of not putting Bell on the injury report when he should have, Pittsburgh could face a severe penalty. The Seattle Seahawks lost a second round draft pick for a similar situation with Richard Sherman. Finally there is the Ben Roethlisberger pondering retirement issue. Most have dismissed this, as it’s thought Ben was just blowing off steam after a tough loss. What if this is a reaction to the frustration he is having with all that’s going on around the team? Rothlisberger is watching his prime years slip away while the rest of the team struggles with bad defenses, drug suspensions, and various off field issues that don’t exclude his head coach.
Next season will be a pivotal one for Mike Tomlin. He must get a firmer grip on this team if they expect to win another Super Bowl. The first step has to be to fire Joey Porter and send a message that this sort of behavior will no longer be tolerated. As discussed in an earlier post, a complete change in defensive philosophy may be in order as well. Whatever steps he ends up taking, the 2017 season needs to be a less dramatic then this one was. Unless of course the drama is of the Super Bowl winning kind.