Tomlin, Steelers ‘Appreciative’ To Be In Spot To Clinch Home Field

Not only is the elephant in the room, we’re even allowed to talk about it now. And Pittsburgh Steelers head coach has been lifted up off the coals after compiling a series of wins since he acknowledged that his team’s game against the New England Patriots—the elephant—appears to be shaping up as a game with dramatic import.

Those with an ax to grind—both supporters of the team and detractors—took to social media for every sloppy play over the course of the past couple of games to rib Tomlin and the Steelers, who were obviously “looking past their opponent” and ahead to the Patriots game.

They can look all they want now, because it’s the Patriots on deck, ready to head to Pittsburgh shortly for a visit to Heinz Field. Hopefully not the last one they take this season, should the two teams have to meet up again in the postseason.

During his pre-game press conference, head coach Mike Tomlin did not shy away from his earlier comments, which have been frequently used as ammunition for criticism since then. “It’s good to be in big games”, the leader of the top seed in the AFC said to the gathered media.

“It’s better to be in big games than one’s nobody is watching, you know?”, he asked rhetorically. “We better be appreciative of this spot and not resist it in any way but embrace it. Because this is what we’ve been fighting for since March”.

To be more specific, “this spot” is not necessarily facing the Patriots, specifically, but rather participating in a game that can potentially seal for them homefield advantage throughout the playoffs. A victory over the Patriots would virtually assure that that happens.

The only way that that outcome could be prevented from that point on would be if the Steelers lose their final two games against the Texans and the Browns and the Jaguars win each of their final three games. While the latter is quite possible, the former is rather unlikely.

Tomlin referred to their home turf as ‘the kitchen’, saying, “we’re excited about being in the kitchen. It’s good to be in the kitchen; the kitchen’s in Pittsburgh, PA this week in the National Football League at Heinz Field, and that’s where you want to be in the middle of December”.

Following last season’s loss to the Patriots in the AFC Championship game, we have heard since then from a number of different players in coaches about how important it is to be able to secure homefield advantage, something that the Steelers have not had as the number one seed literally since 2004.

This is easily the best opportunity they will have had to secure that top spot in a long time. While they are certainly not without their flaws, they have a team that is capable of beating any team in just about any way imaginable, and they have already been through the grind of adversity and close games.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi
Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.
  • Steel Realist PAul

    Always been a Tomlin guy. Coaches will never be perfect. But.. he sets the tone and has mostly made the playoffs.. and the Steelers are AFC Championship-worthy for a second straight season.

    Plus.. he just feels like a Steelers coach (Noll – Cowher – Tomlin.. yeah, I’ll take that). We’re fortunate to have had this lineage as fans.

  • DirtDawg1964

    One thing no one can dispute about Tomlin is he doesn’t shy away from the big moments.

    This is a great message to send to the team. We are in a big moment. Appreciate it. Respect it.

  • pittfan

    +100.

  • Reg Sayhitodabadguy Hunt

    DO YOU SMELL WHAT THE COACH IS COOKING (in my rock voice) revenge is a dish thats best served cold! this game is ours

  • ATL96STEELER

    I know coach took some flak for talking about NE with other games on the slate before them, but NE clearly has been the elephant in the room…we all know it, and we know PIT is not going back to the SB this season until they beat this team…likely twice.

  • Sam Clonch

    Mike just makes me want to do some pushups, every time I hear him. Gonna have the team pump up too!!!

  • ThatGuy

    Tomlin has a way to use a word or phrase to describe something that you would never think would work and make it sound so damn cool. The Kitchen.

  • The Chin

    Just to reiterate, Terry Bradshaw is a horse’s arse.

  • Orlysteel

    Let’s get the kitchen going, let’s start cooking , how about some New England clam chowder.

  • ThatGuy

    “if you can’t handle the heat then get the hell out of the kitchen”

  • EdJHJr

    I’ll say it first. If they win this one they will not play them again.

    So how about that.

  • StrengthOfVictory

    I think what’s most encouraging to me is this:

    If the defense can play even noticeably better (not even necessarily much better, not perfect, not lights-out), then the Steelers will be in a great spot to win, given how the offense has been clicking. Finally, the Steelers are a team that can hang with the Pats offensively. This could easily turn into a shoot-out like the Cowboys game at Heinz Field was, only (hopefully) with a different result.

  • EdJHJr

    But wait , Hulk Hogan is lurking. And” what you gonna do when hes runnin wild on you. ”

    Like he did last year. Actually I think they decided not to cover him on purpose.

    I think with Heyward, Bell, Bryant, ok minus Shaz.. but this is not the same team as the Pats saw last.

  • EdJHJr

    He does that on purpose, and always is before a big game. He gets them fired up

  • StrengthOfVictory

    If the Pats are forced to play in the opening round of the playoffs (something I’m annoyed they NEVER have to do), I agree. Adding another elimination game to their schedule—and against some of the teams likely to be in the playoff field (San Diego and Jacksonville)—just might be too much.

  • ThePointe

    If the Steelers win this game, and retain home field throughout, I see:

    #3 Jags Vs #6 Ravens=> #3 Jags
    #4 KC Vs #5 Titans ==> #4 KC

    Then:

    #1 Steelers Vs #4 KC ==> #1 Steelers
    #2 Pats Vs #3 Jags ==> #3 Jags

    Finally:

    #1 Steelers Vs #3 Jags ==> #1 Steelers

  • Conserv_58

    There is no doubt that the NFL loves them some nationally televised Steelers games because they are money in the bank. Steelers games always peg the meter in the Neilson Ratings. I’ve got a feeling this Sunday’s game will blow the top off of that meter.

  • Conserv_58

    Since I live in upstate, NY and since the temp. is in the teens some hot NE clam chowder sounds good to me.

  • Conserv_58

    I see and hear him and all I can think is it’s so sad to see how he’s become so cynical and bitter. Nothing like alienating one’s self from his fellow players and the organization that allowed him to achieve what he most likely wouldn’t have with any other organization.

  • HiVul

    The tower of power is too sweet to be sour BROTHER!

  • Conserv_58

    Honor those that have gone before you because you have the unique opportunity to be a part of Steelers and NFL history. This type of game is where legends are made. Now go out and and be legendary, just like the patch on your jerseys says.

  • ilamarca

    Steelers win + Jags win out = Pats in 3rd place and a game against the Ravens or Chargers then @Jax. That would be a tough road for them to climb before Pittsburgh.

  • falconsaftey43

    Belicheck is pretty widely regarded as the best coach in NFL history (5x Super Bowls will do that). And Tomlin often has trouble getting respect as a good NFL coach even compared to just other current coaches. Obviously Tomlin doesn’t have near the number of rings, but this stat really surprised me the other day…

    If the Steelers won their next 5 regular season games, and the Patriots lost their next 5 regular season games, Tomlin would then have a better career winning% than Belicheck. That’s kind of crazy that they’re that close.

  • Generic Steelers Fan

    How dare he answer a question! Big reason why he is 11-2 but BARELY. He’s gone this year, calling it now.

  • Edjhjr

    I like chowder.

  • Rob

    That would be the best possible outcome if that holds

  • Ring4Shaz

    Rooney needs to fire him today. No sense waiting till after the blowout loss on Sunday. Replace him with Rex Ryan, who knows how to beat the Pats.

  • Ring4Shaz

    Steeler coaches have never gotten recognition. They should cheat more. Media loves convicted cheaters.

  • Good scenario…except if the Steelers beat the Pats [and the Jags win out], the Jags would be the #2 seed. So…

    #6 Ravens @ #3 Pats = ?
    #5 Titans @ #4 KC [or Chagers] ?

    Lowest seeded survivor @ us
    Highest seeded survivor @ Jags

  • ThePointe

    Yeah, but I just don’t believe the Jags win out. They could and probably should but they are a young team that I think will drop another game before the end of the season.

  • NCSteel

    Possible. But the thought of Los Angeles and/or Jacksonville doesn’t exactly make me feel like I’m at poolside with a beverage, living the good life either. Those teams are playing well but I certainly welcome them over the evil genius and his creation

  • Darth Blount 47

    I was told that New England, technically, hasn’t even clinched a playoff spot. Let THAT sink in.

  • francesco

    I hate to say it but this is a trap game.

  • francesco

    Not sure the Steelers defense can stop the run…especially Fournette.

  • francesco

    I would have said Bathroom but that’s just me.

  • Danielsteelstrong81

    “don’t blink, I’ll cut your eyelids”

  • Steve

    Cheating gives the media something to write about.
    They barely knew Noll, so what was there to write?

  • Steve

    What a joker.

  • will

    So Brad was right???

  • will

    Evil cheating genius……

  • Sam Clonch

    Yeah, they’re looking ahead to the Browns.

  • FATCAT716

    I always said he makes me want to run a lap. Great motivational speaker

  • Ring4Shaz

    Exactly. I remember when the TV talking heads would call him “Chuck Knox”, who at the time was the coach of the Buffalo Bills. They literally didn’t even know his name.