Mike Tomlin is first the head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers. But his charismatic way of speaking to a room and commanding attention has caught on around the media landscape and elsewhere as noteworthy. That includes the rise of his signature ‘Tomlinisms’ that have become folklore around the NFL at this point.
Joining the All Things Covered Podcast with Bryant McFadden and Patrick Peterson, Tomlin was asked about what he believes his top three Tomlinisms actually are right out of the chute. His answers were thoughtfully calculated by what he thought got to players, coaches, and individuals the most.
The first pick that Tomlin revealed was ‘the secret is there is no secret’. Mike Tomlin broke down that phrase and why it means so much to him as the best thing he says as a lesson.
“I think we’re all looking for shortcuts and winning edge, but I want to instill upon the staff and players themselves that this is a process that we’re going through,” Tomlin said. “And although we are looking for the winning edge, shortcuts aren’t one of them.”
The second pick that Tomlin tossed up was ‘tedious repetition, routine actions’ which Tomlin seemingly uses every day now on the football field, including once earlier this week when referencing Anthony McFarland and his level of play.
“Those make us great,” Tomlin said. “I’m just trying to find an artful way of capturing their attention to say,’man you gotta come ready for the work every day. The bottom line is there are certain things we’re gonna do every day and it might not be interesting but it is very necessary. So, I want to sell that. The building blocks of our football development.”
The last pick for Tomlin was not one he picked, but one that Patrick Peterson picked for him. Peterson loves the saying ‘routine plays routinely’. Tomlin delved into that one and why he says that so often.
“Oftentimes, when people think about professional football they think about the spectacular,” Tomlin said. “They think about the catch that Pickens made yesterday. But us that know in this profession, we know that true professionalism is making ordinary plays on a regular basis. That like clockwork things we can depend on, like Hines Ward on an option route on 3rd and 4, 1st down.”
That is the list, certainly, those are some rings that he uses through the training camp process. Tomlin quips these Tomlinisms routinely throughout practice, and it often seems to ring through the minds of those players. So, these work.