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Mike Tomlin Hangs Up on Pushy Jacksonville Reporters During Call

NFL coaches hold conference calls with media members for the opposing team ahead of each game. The calls are intended to help reporters provide thorough coverage of each game. With the Steelers playing the Jaguars Sunday, Jacksonville reporters had an opportunity to interview Steelers coach Mike Tomlin Wednesday. Tomlin ended the conference call early because he was annoyed with questions regarding an issue he felt was irrelevant.

Tomlin was asked about the 2008 playoff game the Steelers lost to the Jaguars 31-29. He was asked if he had any memories from the game and said he really didn’t. One reporter asked him two follow-up questions, wondering if Tomlin had sent tape to the league regarding a questionable call by the referees. The Steelers coach wasn’t interested in revisiting the past. Tania Ganguli of The Florida Times-Union describes what ensued.

“Guys, come on man. I’m not going to cry over four-year-old spilled milk. Anybody got any legitimate questions? Goll-lly,” Tomlin said, clearly perturbed.

We chuckled, but Tomlin didn’t. So [AP writer Mark] Long tried to explain it was a big game from a Jacksonville standpoint and that’s why he was asking.

“Guys, that was four years ago,” Tomlin said. “I understand that might have been a big game in Jacksonville but that’s old news. Many of those guys are no longer here and definitely many of the guys that were in Jacksonville are no longer there. Anybody got any questions relative to this week?”

Three seconds passed and [writer Vito Stellino] began to ask a question, but Tomlin jumped in before he could finish his question.

“Thank you, have a good one.”

The media likes to get aggravated when athletes or coaches don’t play along with them. Reporters tend to have a pack mentality, and they like to defend one another against coaches and players. But this is a situation where I think the reporters were wrong and I can understand why Tomlin grew frustrated.

What purpose did asking Tomlin about sending in a tape serve? Was writer Mark Long, who asked the question, about to write a story three years later about Tomlin being a bad coach because he didn’t send a tape to the league office? Why would he bother asking two follow-up questions about the incident?

Tomlin’s time is extremely valuable, and he’s accommodating the media by answering their questions on a conference call. The least the media can do is come prepared with questions so that nobody’s time is wasted.

Thanks to Sports by Brooks Live for the heads up



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  • Anonymous

    Good for Mike. Some reporters are just dicks.