What is Mike Tomlin like behind the closed doors in the Steelers facility? A lot of people see the sometimes serious side of Tomlin that quips in with Tomlinisms all the time. They hear the stories of how Tomlin has gone out of his way for players and loves embracing the human element of the job.
All of the above plus some other things has led to Tomlin being known, in a negative light, as a player’s coach. Terry Bradshaw’s infamous line, dubbing Tomlin ‘a cheerleader’ has spread for years with some having that sentiment. But former Steelers safety Ryan Mundy says that could not be further from the truth.
Playing on the team from 2008 to 2012, Mundy saw what a young Tomlin was like. While he maintained some of those relatable, he was far more than just that to the players he coached. Appearing on the Locked On Minnesota Podcast, Mundy broke down just what Tomlin brought to the table.
“Sometimes a player’s coach may not have the best connotation to it because you might think they’re soft, but that was not the case,” Mundy said. “When Mike T was talking to you, you knew he meant business. That was the great things about him. He was relatable but that authoritative figure and leader of men that he needed to be, particularly as the head coach of the organization. At that time, he was under 40, so he’s coaching James Farrior, whose 32.”
Mundy went onto say there was a unique mix of player accountability and Tomlin’s leadership with an older, veteran team around him to start. That meant that Tomlin steered the ship while Farrior carried out the plan. Mundy believes that Tomlin did an excellent job setting the team up for success off the field by doing that and expecting a lot out of his players.
“There wasn’t much knick knack BS we had to deal with,” Mundy said. “You know, we were about our business and showed up on the field there.”
Tomlin is still only 51 years old and has yet to have a losing season, but has not won a playoff game since 2016. Of course, the Steelers are lucky to have Tomlin and he has proven his capabilities as a top head coach in the NFL already. What Mundy says only reinforces that truth further.