(Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images)
Although the Steelers will have a playoff game on Sunday night, the reality is whether it be after Sunday or in the coming weeks the franchise will not be the same again in 2022 and beyond.
Ben Roethlisberger is retiring, and Keven Colbert will soon join him. The last key remnants of the Bill Cowher Era will be out of the Steeler’s facility. So, what do the Steelers do? How do they usher in this new version of the Pittsburgh Steelers? The answer is to make Mike Tomlin Head of Football Operations.
Tomlin will be the true face of the Steelers with Roethlisberger gone and Colbert no longer picking the groceries. The truth is it has always felt that it was a power struggle at times between head coach and quarterback. Remember there were rumors that Tomlin was growing weary of Ben’s relationship with then offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, and that is why he was let go after the 2011 season.
Then Tomlin hired Todd Haley who had friction with Ben for most of the time he was there although he enjoyed his greatest success in his sure-fire Hall of Fame career. After he was gone, he elevated Randy Fichtner from quarterbacks coach to his offensive coordinator who let’s face it he was a yes man to Big Ben. Now Matt Canada is the offensive coordinator and, in my opinion, I don’t think Roethlisberger completely respects him.
The point is that the Pittsburgh Steelers are completely Michael Pettaway Tomlin’s team. He is the face, voice, and heartbeat of this franchise. I am usually against a head coach leading the entire football operation but Tomlin is no ordinary coach. He is a true leader of men and after fifteen seasons his not grown stale at all. I think you can still hire a general manager for things such as contract negotiations and crunching the cap numbers. That is where the vice president of football and business administration Omar Khan comes in. You will need a vice president of player personnel, that’s when you promote your long-time scouting coordinator Brandon Hunt comes in.
Khan is more about a salary cap guru that can get the team contracts so they can put the best possible roster together. Hunt is a master scout and talent evaluator who has brought in mid-round talents in Antonio Brown, James Conner and discovered Alejandro Villanueva.
That collaboration with Tomlin keeping up with the culture and leading his team through the post- Roethlisberger era will keep this competitive.
I suggest that Tomlin goes up to the Rooney's and demand that he has full control over the football operations, or else he will find another team that will. Plenty of teams would be blessed with having a football mind as smart as Tomlin not to mention his track record. I know that it sounds extreme and demanding, but he has earned it over fifteen years.
It is the perfect time for Tomlin to pull this power play. Black coaches have been getting the short end of the stick for years i.e., Brian Flores and David Culley and Jim Caldwell who is always being charged with cleaning up the messes that these so-called golden boys of the good ole’ boys make, work hard to build a culture, and then be unceremoniously shown the door so their next Sean McVay wannabe or Bill Belichick disciple reaps the rewards.
The bottom line is if the Rooney’s want to keep their success going and not get trapped in the quagmire of mediocrity then it's time to give the keys to the castle to Tomlin.
Follow me @bwalkerdadon on Twitter