EDITORIAL: Dear, ‘Tomlin Sucks/Harbaugh Rocks’ Haters

Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin (left) and Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh (Brian Cook / Golden Sky Media)

PITTSBURGH (GSM) — Can I say it? Can I just go…ahead…and say it?

The very things that you “seemingly hate” about Tomlin and the “…a good coach like John Harbaugh would never do…” things, came out in full force Saturday night in the 28-12 loss to the Tennessee Titans at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.

For some examples (among many):

* Unlike Tomlin, a good coach like Harbaugh would NEVER lose a home playoff game after gaining home field advantage in the playoffs, much less after lording over a 14-2 football team that dominated the league all season,

* Unlike Tomlin, a good coach like Harbaugh would NEVER allow his obviously-more-talented football team to come out “flat” (e.g., go down 14-0 at home to a 9-7 #6 seed),

* or “uninspired” (e.g., how do you not get a 4th-and-1 or a 4th-and-inches while fighting for your playoff lives),

* or “undisciplined” (e.g., did you see Humpreys bite on that double move for the long TD pass that led to the 14-0 lead),

* nor would he make “unforgivable coaching decisions” (e.g., really? you go for it on a 4th-and-inches in YOUR OWN TERRITORY down 7-0 to a QB that barely threw for 100 yards the weekend before…with the #4 defense in the league AT HOME?!?!? Better still, why the heck would you kill what little momentum and hope you’d gain from FINALLY scoring a TD in the 4th Q by going for two, not getting it, then KICKING OFF DEEP while down by 2 TD’s?!?!?),

* or allow his team to “under-perform” or “play down to the competition” (e.g., Blake Bortles….I mean, Ryan Tannehill is a journeyman QB that has thrown for less than 250 yards in TWO NFL PLAYOFF GAMES) with a #4-ranked defense that KNEW that the ONLY REAL THREAT that the Titans had was the running game with Leonard Fournette….I mean, Derrick Henry,

I mean: you have the NFL MVP ON YOUR TEAM (Lamar Jackson) and the #4 defense in the NFL as well as home field advantage and facing a #6 seed that lost to the Panthers, Broncos and Jaguars this season, and you lose by 16?

WHAT. A. BUM!

And he’s only been to ONE Super Bowl!

John Harbaugh’s career as head coach:

– 128–81 (.612)

– AFC North Champs: 2011, 2012, 2018, 2019

– AFC Champs: 2012

– SB Champs: 2012

– Sub .500 seasons: 1

– Playoff appearances: 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2018, 2019

Mike Tomlin’s career as head coach:

– 141–80–1 (.637)

– AFC North Champs: 2008, 2010, 2014, 2016, 2017

– AFC Champs: 2008, 2010

– SB Champs: 2008

– Sub .500 seasons: 0

– Playoff appearances: 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017

Of course, I’m being a little sarcastic here — while pointing out only SOME of the items that happened last night in the Ravens’ horrendous loss.

At the same time, for all of you that love to point out “Tomlin’s flaws” yet put Harbaugh on a high pedestal over him as a “much better coach,” please check out what happened last night, as that loss was at least as bad as the 2017 Jags loss at Heinz Field.

Remember that Tomlin has never had 2 Hall of Fame players on his Defense at the same time (i.e., Harbaugh won with Ed Reed/Ray Lewis…”someone else’s players”) or a Super Bowl MVP-winning quarterback in Joe Flacco.

Tomlin is 2-1 vs. Harbaugh in the playoffs, including a loss without MVP running back that was injured 6 days earlier.

Both guys are good coaches. The stats are there as to who has done better in the same division and almost with the same mirror-image teams of each other (especially earlier in the rivalry).

After watching that fiasco last night, I ask (some of) you not to let “other items” get in the way of your “analysis” of the Tomlin/Harbaugh debate. Not all of you do this, but some folks do – and we kinda all know what’s going on with those that do.

Westinghouse’s Dayon Hayes: 2019 ‘Golden Player of the Year’

PITTSBURGH (GSM) — As the new year begins and sounds of “Auld Lang Syne” slowly fades away, we take a look back on 2019 at a player that has earned his spot in high school football’s elite.

Standing at 6′ 3,” 250 pounds, Dayon Hayes has been a dominating force in ways that set him apart from the pack.

Westinghouse Academy defensive end Dayon Hayes celebrates following defensive stop against Our Lady of Sacred Heart on August 24, 2019. (Brian Cook / Golden Sky Media)

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The Westinghouse Bulldogs’ standout defensive end has made a name for himself on the gridiron, raising the eyebrows of recruits across the nation. His stature, coupled with the ability to have an explosive break on the ball, has been second to none and his statistics show how dominating he has been throughout his high school career.

80 Tackles | 23 sacks | 14 Tackles for loss | 1 Interception | 2 Forced Fumbles | 2 Fumble Recoveries 

Hayes spoke exclusively to Golden Sky Media saying, “My Westinghouse experience is great and I wouldn’t want to be any other place than here, because the history is so great.”

Westinghouse Academy, which has a rich history of musicians, physicians, politicians, attorneys, scholars, members of the media and of course athletes, is a staple of not only Pittsburgh but has history that can rival institutions around the world.

Westinghouse Academy defensive end Dayon Hayes sacks Our Lady of Sacred Heart quarterback Jaymar Pearson. (Brian Cook / Golden Sky Media)

As far as football goes, Hayes told us that he is thrilled to be named among the giants that have donned the halls of the Blue and Gold. “It’s been a long time since there has been something good happening at Westinghouse — like a football championship — and I’m just glad I’m a part of turning Westinghouse’s program around.”

For the past 23 years, Westinghouse has been fighting for the chance to hoist the trophy and stand alone as the kings of the city. For the first time since 1996, they accomplished that goal with the help of Hayes.

Donta Green, head coach of the Westinghouse Bulldogs gives a pre-game speech prior to the City League Championship at George K. Cupples Stadium in Pittsburgh. October 26, 2019. Dayon Hayes is seated on far left. (Brian Cook / Golden Sky Media)

Bulldogs’ head coach Donta Green speaks on behalf of the entire coaching staff saying of Hayes, “He’s everything a coach wants in a player. He has amazing work ethic and is a  joy to be around!”

A mixture of alumni, friends, family and supporters of Westinghouse Academy (Westinghouse High School) during the 2019 City League Championship. (Brian Cook / Golden Sky Media)

Flanked by traditional chants by Westinghouse faithful, “There’s a House, up on a Hill, let’s go, let’s go, let’s go,” his team won the 2019 City League Championship over USO 12-2 at George K. Cupples Stadium on Pittsburgh’s Southside. Westinghouse had 36 active players on the roster and won its 36th championship in school history.

Players from Westinghouse Academy hoist the 2019 championship trophy after defeating USO 12-6 at George K. Cupples Stadium on October 29, 2019 in Pittsburgh. (Brian Cook / Golden Sky Media)

Green, a man that puts no one player above the team, took to social media after the win, praising his entire team’s performance in addition to their academic achievements, “These young people worked hard both in the classroom and the field to make this day happen! Coach loves you guys and I salute each and every one of you for your sacrifice and dedication.” –Donta Green, via Facebook.

Screenshot of DeWayne Brown taken from a documentary directed by Golden Sky Media’s Brian Cook about the training program he started titled 210ths. (Brian Cook / Golden Sky Media)

DeWayne Brown is the founder of 2/10ths Speed and Agility, which is an extreme workout regimen, that trains athletes from youth football to the professional ranks who have interest in gaining physical and mental awareness in their respective sports. He has worked with Hayes in the past in the area of positional drills to increasing footwork.

Brown has seen many athletes grow within his program and when it comes to Hayes, Brown said his technique and ability to excel is one of the best he’s seen. “Dayon is an elite athlete with an elite 1st step that will translate on all levels of football,” Brown said of Hayes. “Once he puts everything together mentality — with all his physical components — he will be one of those special players.”

William Pipkins (#7) pressured by Westinghouse’s Dayon Hayes (#50) during the 2019 City League Championship at George K. Cupples Stadium on October 29, 2019 in Pittsburgh. (Brian Cook / Golden Sky Media)

Brown, raving about Hayes’ ability says, if things line up the way they should, “He has all the tools to get to the NFL. He’s very teachable. You give him a directive and he’ll execute it. He’s also a fast learner.”

Hayes officially committed to the University of Pittsburgh and will be sure to find playing time with the Panthers. He will most likely see the field early in his college career. 

COURTESY: PITT LIVEWIRE

Sean McCaskill is founder of Dream Chaser 5 (DC5) which develops middle and high school athletes dreaming about becoming the next 5-star defensive back. McCaskill trains those who aspire to become successful in the secondary but has “…never had the pleasure of working” with Hayes. However, as an ardent scout of talent, he has watched Hayes develop and shared favorable remarks about his character. 

Sean McCaskill during a weekly workout of high school defensive backs at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on January 2, 2020 in Pittsburgh. (Brian Cook / Golden Sky Media)

“So many athletes love the lifestyle, but [Hayes] learned to embrace the process to becoming great,” McCaskill said. “It’s extremely difficult to bet against a player like him, because he’s willing to do those things that everyone is not willing to do. He’s about to be coached by arguably the best D-Line coach in college football, Coach Charlie Partridge at Pitt.”

Hayes was “thrilled and pleasantly surprised” about becoming the 2019 Golden Sky Media “Golden Player of the Year,” saying, “I’m very happy about it! This is something new and I’m glad to be apart of this and happy to be the player of the year.”

Prior to the 2019 Pittsburgh City League Championship Westinghouse Academy defensive end Dayon Hayes gets into character before taking the field. October 26, 2019 at George K. Cupples Stadium on Pittsburgh’s southside. (Brian Cook / Golden Sky Media)

Not making this accolade about himself, he has advice for younger players who are watching him and coming through the ranks themselves, “You can do anything you put your mind to. It doesn’t matter where you go to school because everyone told me I couldn’t do what I’m doing now,” Hayes said. “I just got on my grind and accomplished some of my goals and that was getting scholarships to schools and my favorite one [Pitt], too.”

Hayes is an honor-roll student first, a blue-chip player second and now the recipient of the inaugural “Golden Player of the Year” award, granted by Golden Sky Media.


BRIAN COOK IS AN EMMY-NOMINATED INTERNATIONAL JOURNALIST WHO HAS BEEN COVERING THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE SINCE 2005. HE CAN BE REACHED AT BCOOK@GOLDENSKYMEDIA.COM.
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Associated Press Announces All-Pro Players; 3 Steelers Make the Cut

PITTSBURGH (GSM) — Three members of the Pittsburgh Steelers have been named to the Associated Press All-Pro team for 2019.

This honor means you’re the best at your position for that season, and there is one player for each position (22 players) honored each year. This year TJ Watt (edge rusher), Steelers linebacker TJ Watt sacks Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton. (Marlon Martin / Golden Sky Media)

Cam Heyward (interior lineman)

Cam Heyward defensive end for the Pittsburgh Steelers (Marlon Martin / Golden Sky Media)

and Minkah Fitzpatrick (safety) were selected.

Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick (Marlon Martin / Golden Sky Media)

 

Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin Thanks Players ‘For Their Efforts All Season’

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin during a defensive substitution in the game against the Baltimore Ravens on December 29, 2019 at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. (Marlon Martin, Marlee Media for Golden Sky Media)

BALTIMORE (GSM) — The Steelers have missed the playoffs for the second consecutive year, however faced adversity that enabled them to see the performance of their defensive and offensive depth. 

Quarterbacks Mason Rudolph and “Duck” Hodges both received a chance to prove if they are the heir to the throne after Ben Roethlisberger finally retires. Defensive end Isaiah Buggs received playing time after all-pro d-lineman Stephon Tuitt was placed on injured reserve following a pectoral tear. And who could forget the running back carousel between James Connor, Jaylen Samuels, Benny Snell Jr. and Kerrith Whyte?

 Throughout the season, Coach Tomlin often mentioned how adversity was an obstacle that he had to overcome. Nonetheless, his team fell short of reaching the postseason this year after a more than impressive run with many of the starters hurt. Despite their shortcomings, Coach Tomlin performed exceptionally well under the circumstances.

After the final game of the year vs the Ravens, Coach Tomlin responded to a question from Golden Sky Media, saying, “I appreciated their efforts today, but not only today, all season. We’re not trying to assess it too much, to make too many broad statements.”

The Steelers will now focus on the draft and solidifying their franchise tags for players that have made a significant contribution for the team thus far.


BRIAN COOK IS AN EMMY-NOMINATED INTERNATIONAL JOURNALIST WHO HAS BEEN COVERING THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE SINCE 2005. HE CAN BE REACHED AT BCOOK@GOLDENSKYMEDIA.COM.
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Tomlin Discusses Mental Preparation in Week 17

Mike Tomlin, head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Brian Cook / Golden Sky Media)

BALTIMORE (GSM) — Week 17 of the NFL season is here and there are 2 slots left — in both the AFC and the NFC — for teams to enter the postseason. The 6th seed of both conferences are up for grabs and Pittsburgh is on the outside looking in, needing a win and needing help to reach the tournament.

The Steelers will need to win against the Ravens and the Titans will need to lose to the Texans in order to gain the last playoff spot. 

Devlin “Duck” Hodges will get the start after throwing 2 interceptions against the Jets last week and was benched for Mason Rudolph. Rudolph was injured in the game after throwing a touchdown to Diontae Johnson and was ultimately placed on injured reserve.

After the shuffling of quarterbacks and leaving New York in the losing column, it is up to coaches and fellow teammates to help boost the morale of the team’s leader. In this case, “Duck” Hodges, by default. The undrafted quarterback has a chance to rebound from his latest performance and possibly solidify a spot o the roster in the future. Before that, it is imperative that his confidence is repaired. 

In his weekly press conference, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin was asked about the importance of players being mentally stable.

“Having a hardcore plan; having a level of consistency in terms of the procedure that is preparation, creates a constant that is an anchor for guys. That allows them to build — not only preparation — but confidence associated with it as you get closer to game time.”–Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin

The Steelers — who have an uphill battle — now face a Baltimore Ravens team that has already secured the #1 spot in the AFC, are resting their starters and have nothing to play for. 

BRIAN COOK IS AN EMMY-NOMINATED INTERNATIONAL JOURNALIST WHO HAS BEEN COVERING THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE SINCE 2005. HE CAN BE REACHED AT BCOOK@GOLDENSKYMEDIA.COM.
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