Steelers Pre-Season: Bill Who?

Steelers Fever Exclusive Editorial

Thursday, August 09, 2007
By Marc Simon
Steelers Fever Columnist


The only thing missing from the Steelers rousing if meaningless pre-season victory over the New Orleans Saints in the Hall of Fame Game was running back Willie Parker.

Maybe you thought I was going to write Coach Bill Cowher, but really, did you miss him at all? From the way the team looks after one pre-season game and a few weeks in training camp, the Steelers will miss Fast Willie's wheels more than Cowher's jaw in the event his knee is seriously injured, bite your tongue.

Even the announcers, the miscast Bryant Gumbel and the overly jocular Chris Collinsworth stopped talking about Cowher pretty early into the evening. They also stopped talking about the game pretty early, too.

We learned more about Michael Irvin and how he likes to kiss his kids on the mouth, even his boy kids, than we did about the question marks in the Steelers offensive line. Not that there's anything wrong with kissing your kids on the mouth. But did we have to hear about it for ten minutes or so?

All kissing aside, it does look as if the Steelers are buying into what new coach Mike Tomlin is selling. According to right or left offensive tackle (depending on what day it is) Max Starks, "Coach Tomlin definitely demands that respect. He's a great guy. We look forward to playing for him."

Added nose tackle Chris Hope, "Coach Tomlin is doing a great job. Coach Cowher was an icon."

So true. The man really is iconic, with The Jaw, The Flying Saliva, and The Stare. Not to mention the record. No matter what you think of him, after the 2005 playoff run to the Superbowl and subsequent victory, he certainly cemented his place in the Pittsburgh Icon Hall of Fame.

Coach Tomlin has a long way to go to achieve iconic status. But so far, so good. Sure, the Hall of Fame game was nothing more than a glorified scrimmage, but Tomlin's Steelers -- yes, Tomlin's Steelers -- played with both enthusiasm and discipline and, in Tomlin's current mantra, "hard, tough and fast."

I would add the word smart, too. Plus Coach Tomlin dressed in all black. Here's hoping he'll wear his basic black for every practice, every game, every press conference. It just might be the beginning of his icon-ness. It worked for Johnny Cash.