´ Steel Curtain Rising: Tomczak to be Pittsburgh (Power) Offensive Coordinator

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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Tomczak to be Pittsburgh (Power) Offensive Coordinator


Former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mike Tomczak is returning to coach offense in Pittsburgh. No, he’s not joining Todd Haley's staff, but will rather join as the offensive coordinator of the Pittsburgh Power, the Steel City’s arena football team.

Bill Cowher and Tom Donahoe brought Mike Tomczak to Pittsburgh in 1993 where he played as a back up, and occasional starter, from 1993 to 1999. Tomczak cut his teeth in Chicago as a starter/backup for  Mike Ditka and then played for several teams before arriving in Pittsburgh.

In fact, Tomczak can boast to his grandchildren that he was the only AFC Central quarterback to defeat the Steelers during Cowher’s inaugural season.

The name “Mike Tomczak” generally draws ire in Steelers Nation, but he did stabilized the backup slot during Neil O’Donnell and Kordell Stewart’s starting tenures.

Tomczak's Shining Moment as a Steeler
 
His brightest moment came in 1994, Bill Cowher opted to sit Neil O’Donnell due to nagging injuries. With Tomczak starting, the Steelers won two crucial AFC match ups vs. Miami and Los Angeles.

How Tomczak won those games was more important, however. Entering 1994, Eric Green still looked like he might redefine the tight end position. But as the year wore on it became clear that Green wasn’t going to reach his potential. O’Donnell insisted on forcing the ball to Green anyway.

History will remember Tomczak serving as the successful “game manager” in those two contests, but his real contribution was to show O’Donnell he had weapons in the form of Yancey Thigpen, Ernie Mills, Andre Hastings, and Charles Johnson.

For those unacquainted with those names, Thigpen, Mills, Hastings, and Johnson were the “Young Money” of their day. It’s true that neither Hastings nor Johnson ever lived up to their promise, and injuries hampered Thigpen and Mills development.

Nonetheless, the Steelers passing offense was at its most potent in 1994 when Green was on the bench and the four wide outs were in the game. The tendency that would carry over into 1995 and ultimately Super Bowl XXX, with the 5 wide receivers and the Kordell Stewart as “Slash” phenomenon, all began with Tomczak’s two starts.

Good Luck Mike

Tomczak in many ways seems like a natural coach. He served as sideline confidant to Jim McMahon and Jim Harbaugh in Chicago, helping them weather the “Ditka’s in Your Face Syndrome.” He also served as a mentor, for whatever good it did, to Kordell Stewart.

Many thought that when Tomczak retired Bill Cowher would bring him back as a quarterback’s coach, and Tomczak always seemed interested in coaching.

Well, he never got to join Cowher’s staff, but he will get a taste of coaching pro football in Pittsburgh.
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