“I don’t care whose players I use,”
Tomlin said No one dealt with more controversy and adversity this season than Steelers’ coach Mike Tomlin. According to Critics, Tomlin shouldn’t get credit for the Super Bowl XL victory, because he did it with “Bill Cowher’s players.” After Cowher retured as the Steelers coach, Tomlin, who was the defensive coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings, was hired to replace him. In a pre-game interview before his Steelers sent the New York Jets packing, Tomlin responded the only way he knew how to respond: “I don’t care whose players I use,” Tomlin said.
The Steelers coach could have added several things his critics seem to have missed. Coaches now considered legends won championships with other coaches’ players.
Vincent Thomas Lombardi was the defensive coordinator for the New York Giants before taking over as head coach of the Green Bay Packers team in 1959. Lombardi got his squad to the NFL championship game in 1960, where they lost a close one to the Philadelphia Eagles. Lombardi’s teams then won NFL championships in 1961, 1962 and 1965-1967. The Packers under Lombardi also won the first two Super Bowls.
Many players like Bart Starr, Jerry Kramer, Paul Hornung and Jim Taylor were on the team before Lombardi took over as head coach. When Lombardi led his Packers to that first NFL championship – a 37-0 thumping of the New York Giants – there was not one criticism that he’d won his title using the previous coach’s players. Don Shula, another NFL coaching legend, took over as head coach of the Miami Dolphins in 1970. Again, after the Dolphins went 17-0 in the 1972 season, there was no criticism of Shula for doing it with his predecessor’s players.
Who knows what motivates the criticism of Tomlin. (There might be a racist motive behind it.) Whatever the motive, Tomlin’s critics overlook his other achievements such as him being the youngest coach to win a Super Bowl; In only four seasons, he has led his team to two Super Bowl appearances; He is one of the few to win a championship in only his second year as a head coach.
Is the criticism of Tomlin valid or just racist driven? You be the judge.