After 42 years of Super Bowls featuring coaches who all fit the same mold, consider another barrier broken down by Steelers coach Mike Tomlin. Last night he became the first ever suave coach to win a Super Bowl.
Prior to this, no Super Bowl winning coach had any modicum of coolness. Even Tony Dungy, the first black coach to win a Super Bowl two seasons ago, could not technically be considered cool what with his advanced age, constant charity work, and dedication to Christian principles. Past winners like Parcells, Gibbs, and Coughlin were exemplary coaches, but resembled most of America’s grandfathers and probably smelled like a library full of eggs. Now for the first time, America has an incredibly charming and engaging dude in his mid 30’s as the coach of their Super Bowl winner.
Tomlin, one cool cat, has been praised in the media and among players for his confident demeanor. “He just looks cool,” is how Steelers WR Hines Ward put it after the team’s Super Bowl victory. “After years of uptight squares leading their team to victory, it’s nice to see someone coaching out there who represents the “hip and with it” demographic of our population. That’s a guy I’d play football for, let my daughter date, or outright date myself any day of the week.”
Steelers RB Willie Parker added: “I doubt they’ll ever let a black dude play James Bond, but if they did, I would pick Coach Tomlin.”
Tomlin, or Black Fonzi as he’s been called, has not earned the distinction without controversy; many argued that former Buccaneers coach Jon Gruden could be considered suave. Before a ruling could be made, Gruden was witnessed purchasing a John Tesh CD, thus disqualifying him from the discussion.
According to SI’s Peter King, the historical impact of this ice-cold customer winning the big one is large. “Mike Tomlin is a trailblazer. Before this, the fraternity of Super Bowl winning coaches included 42 jive turkeys. If you put those guys together, it would be a real dork convention. Look at Tomlin compared to Bill Belicheck. Belicheck wears pajamas to games. Tomlin looks like he probably gets a lot of women and listens to Miles Davis.”
When asked what he thought of his accomplishment, Tomlin cracked a sly smirk, nodded very coolly, and said, “That’s what’s up.” He then lowered his sunglasses for the assembled crowd and flashed them a wink.