Gene Collier acerbically writes today -- as only he can -- of the interplay between Coach Tomlin and the local pack of ink-stained wretches (print media) and blow dried fake-n-bakers (TV media), and of Tomlin's loquacious nature. Likewise, we've also been taken with Tomlin's use of the language, specifically certain key phrases and the use of the word "men." To that end, we start today what will be a running item throughout the season: the inaugural installment of the Mike Tomlin cliche watch!
Tomlin made a nice debut yesterday, but thus far he's still obviously still shaking off the off-season rust. An old standby, "perform at a high level" made no appearances yesterday, but you know that won't stand for long. "Compete", "battle" and "adversity" -- also Tomlin faves -- were peppered throughout the conference ... "Move forward" showed up , and somewhere PittGirl did a shot ... "how we do our business" checks in, as does "embark on our journey" -- derivitives of these will appear from time-to-time throughout the season ... in the "Ones to Watch" category, a pair of hot new rookies: "Position flexibility" and "I never try to tell a story." Tomlin used "position flexibility" -- which sounds like something from the Kama Sutra -- four times, and an astounding three times in the same answer to a question about defensive personnel. Meanwhile "I never try to tell a story" debuts twice and has the sort of vague esoteric sound to it that could make it an instant Tomlin classic. Keep your eyes on these two ... Our Tomlin phrase-of-the-week goes to his description of his personal outlook on life via the prism of Anthony Smith's loud mouth, "Hopefully his rear-view mirror is smaller than his windshield. I know mine is." All kidding aside, that's actually some pretty good wisdom. We like that one.
And finally, the moment you've been waiting for: THE "MEN" COUNT ... drumroll ... In his first official press conference of the 2008 season, Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin registers an ... ELEVEN! Eleven uses of the word "men" to describe his team (or "man" to describe a player). This is a torrid pace that Tomlin cannot be expected to keep up throughout the season. Stay tuned ...
Other junk 'n@:
- We wanted to have the previous item up for you yesterday, but steelers.com didn't bother to update their press conference transcript list, so we couldn't do an official count until today, when we found it on Steel City Insider. And while we're ripping on steelers.com, take a look at this story about the 2005/6 AFC Championship game and see if you can identify the obvious and egregious error that goes with it. Mention it in comments if you do. If our newspaper or web site made a mistake like this, we'd be crucified.
- Ed Bouchette notes in his reports that Tomlin expects a "heated battle" between Sean Mahan and Justin Hartwig for the starting center spot. Heated in what sense? That it will be hot outside when this competition takes place? If Hartwig cannot oust Mahan from this spot then he is conceivably the worst center in the league because Mahan took that distinction last year by a country mile. It was the worst performance by a starting center since yours truly laced 'em up for ol' Lebo high.
- In this very space a few weeks ago, we jokingly mentioned that Fox Chapel native-and-future-Mrs. King-of-All-Media Beth Ostrowsky could be part of a group to purchase the Steelers, but noted that a potential downside was that Wack Pack member Beetlejuice would be consider for a coaching position. Then, lo and behold, we see this on Mondesi's House.