The Falcons host the Steelers tonight in the pair’s final preseason contest. It hasn’t been confirmed whether starters will play, but I’m sure we will get that information sooner than later.
Arthur Smith is entering his third season as head coach and it’s the first roster worth a damn. He squeezed 14 wins out of some pretty pathetic rosters over the last two years. This will be the first season where we can actually judge the job Smith does.
Smith is still a baby-faced head coach and he’ll be lining up across from the second longest-tenured head coach in football tonight. Mike Tomlin has been head coach of the Steelers since 2007 when he took over for Bill Cowher.
Tomlin owns a 63.6% winning percentage and is regarded as one of the greatest coaches of all time. His teams have never finished under .500, and everyone around the league praises the man, leader, and mind that is Mike Tomlin, including Arthur Smith.
“I try to pick his brain a little bit at the league meetings,” Smith said. “I think I’ve been fortunate. There have been a lot of older coaches that have been great when I’ve had questions, when I’ve reached out by phone or text, or when you’re at some of those league events. And I appreciate those guys. They try to pass some of the wisdom down if you go look for it. We know how competitive this league is, but Mike Tomlin is one of the guys I hold in the highest regard.”
Only Bill Belichick has been around longer than Tomlin, and Smith is soaking up as much as he can. The Falcons head coach has proven to be a creative play designer, particularly his diverse run game; however, there’s more to being a head coach than just offensive play-calling.
Mike Tomlin is the perfect example of that. He’s nailed coordinator hires, is one of the best motivators in the league, and continues to be arguably the best leader in all of sports. Arthur Smith should hope to become a fraction of the head coach that Mike Tomlin has been throughout his career.