Neither do I. At least not too much. Such “quarterback controversies” obviously missed the sports pages during adolescence which was spent in the DC area at the height of the Joe Gibbs era.
And what was this momentous event you ask?
- The Pittsburgh Steelers suffered back-to-back losing seasons.
Those consecutive losing seasons cost Donahoe his job and brought Kevin Colbert back to Pittsburgh, and on the eve of that first Colbert-era training camp my friend Mike, a patron of Baltimore's legendary Purple Goose Saloon, thought we had a solution.
- Take a way the golf carts
In either the summer of 1994 or 1995 (new search limitations of Google News archives make it hard to tell) Bill Cowher created a minor stir when he convinced Dan Rooney to provide players with golf carts to shuttle them to and from practices during training camp. Reporters told their readers how remarkable this was but the development was quickly accepted as part of Steelers summers at St. Vincents.
The internet was in its infancy then, or else I suspect the reaction in Steelers Nation might have been a little louder. Remember, fan protest had reversed Cowher's attempt to move the Steelers bench to the sunny side of Three Rivers Stadium. And, after all this was and remains the team with no cheerleaders and a decal on only one side of the helmet.
A dozen or so years later (yes, makes me feel old to say it) Mike Tomlin has stolen a sheet from the Pittsburgh Steelers Fan Club of Maryland.
- For the first time since the early 1990's there will be no golf carts at St. Vincents.
Likewise, Tomlin’s teams have won Super Bowl XLIII and lost Super Bowl XLV respectively by a hair, golf carts not withstanding.
- But Mike Tomlin is still making a right move.
- The same logic applies here, only this time Tomlin is following through on it.
Tomlin loves saying that. The changes are completely irrelevant. Yeah, and the fact that Bruce Springsteen’s first marriage was falling apart had nothing to do with multiple metaphors for marriage gone sour in his seminal work Tunnel of Love.
- One of the glaring needs for the Pittsburgh Steelers at training camp in 2013 was to refocus the team.
But taking away the golf carts is a symbolic move, Tomlin’s made another move that’s both substantive and riskier
- Live, tackling during full contact practices.
Lest Steelers Nation tire itself out pumping their fists in approval, full contact in practice is not what the Dr. ordered for a team with an already precarious injury situation.
- But Tomlin’s move is nonetheless the right one.
As Steel Curtain Rising observed earlier, it is no longer a question of whether the Steelers 2012 draft class, 2013 draft class, and the respective undrafted free agent rookie classes will win starting jobs at St. Vincent’s.
They will win them, because veterans such as James Harrison, Max Starks, Keenan Lewis, and Willie Colon are playing elsewhere.
But by holding full-contact practices Tomlin is sending a message to a team in transition:
- Even though you may end up winning these starting jobs, you're still going to earn them by the sweat of your brow.
Which is exactly the reaction Steelers Nation should hope to see.