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Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin Talks about the Origin of His ‘Tomlinisms’

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Perhaps you’ve noticed, but Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin has some sayings that tend to come up over and over again. Things like “the standard is the standard” when discussing an absent player or the “nameless gray faces” of a Steelers opponent.

Tomlin joined former Steelers cornerback Bryant McFadden’s All Things Covered podcast on Tuesday, and his “Tomlinisms” came up in the discussion.

Tomlin said that his notorious sayings are an intentional way to try to get a message across in a memorable fashion.

“I’m always trying to find ways to deliver a message in a way that’s maybe catchy or catches your attention and things that I can remember so that I can repeat over time,” Tomlin said. “Part of being a good communicator is acknowledging that people are kind of poor listeners. You’ve got to do some things to stimulate them and you’d better be ready to repeat it.”

As for his personal favorite “The Standard is the Standard” motto, Tomlin told McFadden and co-host Patrick Peterson that it is all about ensuring accountability and eliminating excuses.

“That’s probably my favorite, because we are not in the excuse making business,” he said. “We don’t want to make excuses, there’s a standard of expectation in Pittsburgh and that standard is winning. And if you wear the black and gold, man, and you run out of that tunnel, you assume those responsibilities.”

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Tomlin also applied the slogan to the on-going pandemic and the NFL’s recent struggles dealing with it, explaining that the Steelers cannot make excuses about game being canceled due to COVID-19, because 32 other clubs are experiencing similar challenges.

Hired in 2007, Tomlin has never had a losing season as head coach of the Steelers. He has led Pittsburgh to two Super Bowl appearances, winning his first and becoming the youngest head coach to hoist the Lombardi Trophy.

On Tuesday, Tomlin broke out a new saying as the Steelers begin AFC North play with a visit from their rivals the Cleveland Browns.

“We love being in the kitchen,” Tomlin said. “The AFC North is in the kitchen. It’s hot in the North.”

As McFadden said, start printing the t-shirts.

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