(Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
Former Steelers head coach and Hall of Famer Bill Cowher was on 93.7 The Fan this morning to talk about his new memoir Heart and Steel and one of the topics that were brought up was his relationship with Mike Tomlin. Similar to how it was with Chuck Noll, Cowher says he doesn't communicate much with Tomlin and it has nothing to do with not liking Tomlin or anything of that nature. It's just how it is. Cowher wants Tomlin to put his own stamp on the Steelers.
"Because sometimes these buildings, they change,” Cowher said of his lack of communication with Tomlin. “That building may not be the same as it was when I was still there. It’s still the Rooneys who are running it, I kind of understand how the dynamics work in there, but at the same time when you’re not inside those meeting rooms and they close that door, the conversations are different and I understand that. We all think we know what it is . . . but really unless you’re on the inside of those doors there’s so many other variables that we’re unaware of.”
Cowher thinks Tomlin has done a remarkable job since replacing him as the Steelers head coach in 2007, especially when he led the Steelers to an 8-8 record in 2019 with Ben Roethlisberger out for most of the year due to an elbow injury.
“You’re sitting there for 14 years, you’ve never had a losing season, how can we sit there and assess what kind of job he’s done, he’s doing a fantastic job,” Cowher said.
There are always high expectations from the Steelers fan base, as it's pretty much Super Bowl or bust every season, but Cowher says he wouldn't like it any other way.
“That’s the way it should be, I’d much rather have that, and I’m sure Mike will tell you that too, I’d much rather have higher expectations and then going to a team that ‘oh, can we make the playoffs?’ No, it’s more than just that,” Cowher said.
Cowher also has a message for Steelers fans who are constantly complaining about Tomlin.
“People can be complaining if they want but be careful about complaining because you’re not sure what you’re going to get on the other end,” Cowher said.
The Steelers have been very fortunate when it comes to head coaches with having just three since 1969, and Tomlin someday should join Noll and Cowher in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, as well. And Cowher and Tomlin both established Hall of Fame careers by not getting much advice from their predecessors. They simply just did it their way.