It’s rare for Mike Tomlin to slack off in the media scene. As head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Tomlin always keeps a certain face in front of the camera.
But former Steeler Ryan Clark asked Tomlin to drop that vigil in the casual setting of the Tomlin family basement. Pivot’s podcast interview gave fans a glimpse into the Tomlin mentality that we don’t often see. And the stories that stemmed from there brought renewed respect for the Steelers head coach – even from die-hard fans who no longer believed in him.
In his decade and a half with the Steelers, Tomlin drew 1-1 in a big game, and came close to letting victory fall into his hands.
At the end of the interview, Clark set the stage for the legendary Super Bowl 43 saga that Steelers fans were unaware of – until now.
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“During the fourth quarter, Larry Fitzgerald lost his mind,” Clark said.
Of course, Fitzgerald’s play is one that all Steelers fans want to forget but can’t.
In the final minutes of Super Bowl 43, with the Steelers narrowly leading by four points, Kurt Warner found an open-minded Fitzgerald who had nothing but the pitch in front of him. Safeties Ryan Clark and Troy Polamalu were in pursuit when Fitzgerald scored a 64 yard goal to put Arizona ahead.
Tomlin explained about Super Bowl Sunday in Tampa, Fla: “I tell you, man, I needed a security blanket that day.
“And like some of the things you need when things get really dense. I wanted my brother to be on the sidelines in that Super Bowl. Do you understand what I mean? I just need that familiar home.”
Tomlin described his reaction to Fitzgerald’s epic score.
“That’s what I think about when… when Larry Fitzgerald caught that ball, man, and walked down the middle of the field with us, I was paralyzed for a second. Like, like, like everyone else. “
Shocked and Amazed
It’s not often that Mike Tomlin is speechless. But Eddie Tomlin brought him back to reality.
“My big brother walked past me, man, he hit me in the hip and woke me up. He didn’t say anything” because he was scared to death. “
Tomlin described how Eddie is a fan like you and me. So when Eddie was on the sidelines, he was hit by the eventful gravity of the event.
“He is not a coach. He’s like a fan that you took a chord and put him down there on the sidelines. He was like, wow, you know, so I’m not looking for anything substantial from him, but his presence ’cause that’s my big brother. “
“But you don’t know the purpose of someone’s presence until you discover it.”
Eddie’s aim is to get his brother out of his paralysis so he can lead his team to victory.
“And my brother was there to hit me in the hip when Larry Fitzgerald went down that midfield, man, because that was really all he did. He didn’t say anything.”
The rest is History
At that point, with the last 2:30 left, it’s up to the Steelers to get the job done.
Mike Tomlin trusts Ben Roethlisberger to make that happen. The defense, still reeling from Fitzgerald’s score, could only watch.
“Ben’s navigational abilities [a two-minute drill], it’s the best thing he does,” said Tomlin. “Like when it’s thick, he’s most normal when it’s against it. Any. It was the best thing he did.
Ben Roethlisberger met Santonio Holmes for a spectacular six-foot acrobatic that ended the match with 42 seconds on the clock.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have dropped out of the Tampa Super Bowl Champions.
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https://heavy.com/sports/pittsburgh-steelers/mike-tomlin-larry-fitzgerald-cardinals-super-bowl/ Steelers’ Mike Tomlin Paralyzed by Fitzgerald during Super Bowl