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U mad, bro? Readers angry at Steelers brass, support Mike Tomlin (but not Greta Van Fleet) | TribLIVE.com
Breakfast With Benz

U mad, bro? Readers angry at Steelers brass, support Mike Tomlin (but not Greta Van Fleet)

Tim Benz
| Wednesday, January 23, 2019 6:48 a.m

“U mad, bro?” this week features emailers who are just as mad at the Steelers players and front office as I am, supporters of Mike Tomlin, haters of me and those who despise Greta Van Fleet.


I think Steve is being even more critical of Steelers president Art Rooney II than I have been lately.

“I agree with you 100% and Art Rooney II deserves to be hammered until he begins to accept that there is a serious problem with the team’s culture and that it starts with their hapless head coach, Mike Tomlin.”

Steve, I’m not trying to attack Rooney personally. I think he’s a good owner and a good person. Loyal, perhaps to a fault, as you point out regarding Tomlin. That’s also evidenced by how he has handled the Ryan Shazier situation in an attempt to show the team’s support for a fallen player.

However, to underscore your email, I don’t know why he has this blind spot about how the team’s culture is impacting the public’s perception of his club. I think Rooney feels as if avoiding an admission of a problem with how his team acts is somehow massaging its image.

Unfortunately, the reverse is happening. The more Rooney defends the logo, the more tarnished it becomes.

He keeps saying that since the Steelers don’t lose a lot of games, the team’s lack of focus and discipline shouldn’t be viewed as a problem.

But as I pointed out this week, many of the infrequent losses the Steelers have endured in recent years have occurred right in line with those off-field problems.

So, I don’t think it’s coincidence.

Speaking of coincidences, if Rooney doesn’t think there is a culture problem, why is he inferring that Antonio Brown won’t be back? Also, why did he have Tomlin not renew Joey Porter, allow the team to trade Martavis Bryant, ditch LeGarrette Blount and remove Todd Haley?

I think Rooney would be better served admitting the team’s off-field concerns and simply saying we will address them this season. He’s probably saying it internally. His actions certainly suggest as much. Why not say so out loud?

Based on the opinions I’ve received similar to yours, Steve, that seems to be what his fan base wants.

It’s not popular to take a stance critical of the Steelers’ emblem in this town. Trust me, I know. I’ve done so many times. And usually when I do, the criticism I receive back is harsher than what I levy in the first place.

Not in this case. Rooney’s fans seem to want some accountability in this area. Those criticisms usually take the form of demanding that Tomlin be fired or Rooney at least admit the problem that exists with how his roster comports itself.

Rooney won’t do the first thing. He should do the second.


Rich appreciated my column about L.J. Fort tweeting about placekickers.

“Good article today, as every day. I think the players need to watch “The Waterboy” again and take advice from Mrs. Boucher.

Facebook is the DEVIL!

Twitter is the DEVIL!

Rich–Katy, Tx”

Agreed, Rich. Agreed.

I thought that tweet was a partial dig at Chris Boswell. Fort suggested it wasn’t.

Regardless, these Steelers players just need to stay off social media. Most of the off-field problems seem to be borne from things they post online.


Anthony — a frequent emailer — isn’t a fan of my belief that the Steelers would’ve been better served replacing Tomlin.

“Tim, you remind of lieutenant I met in ranger school. He yelled a lot and always said do something but when asked what he wanted us to do, he didn’t have any specifics. It wasn’t long before he was relieved. So, let’s “Fire the coach!” Tim, just tell us some names we are going to replace him with, even though it is moot now.”

Well, Anthony, you remind me of myself as a teenager. You want to argue a lot, but you do so before doing your research.

Four days before you sent this email (Jan. 13), I wrote that the most prudent thing to do would be to replace Tomlin with Mike Munchak because he not only would provide the continuity the locker room would desire, but also the necessary discipline this team lacks.

I had also said on ESPN Pittsburgh that Rams quarterback coach Zac Taylor and Patriots linebacker coach Brian Flores were interesting candidates. But the Bengals are hiring Taylor and Flores is going to Miami.

And, as I had written nine days before your email, Chuck Noll, Bill Cowher and Tomlin all were young, barely known assistants when they got hired by the Steelers.

So why would you assume that the Steelers aren’t capable of hiring a fourth guy like that in a row? They seem to be pretty good at it.

Perhaps your lieutenant was a better instructor than you gave him credit for. And maybe you needed to be a better listener.


Robert sent me an e-mail after last week’s “U mad, bro?”

“Your comments as a part of your articles make me laugh. But don’t take that as a compliment.”

OK, Robert. I won’t. As you shouldn’t consider me including your email in this week’s edition a compliment to you.


Most importantly, prior to Greta Van Fleet’s performance on “Saturday Night Live,” Bruno took a shot at me because I like the band.

Psst, Bruno! Update your online stereotypes! The hipsters actually hate Greta Van Fleet.

The hipsters think GVF is “too mainstream” and “derivative” and “fetishized.” Hipster-Twitter informed me so, many times over.

Greta Van Fleet committed the hipster mortal sin of getting too popular, too quickly. The hipsters would prefer to watch a less popular, less interesting band perform on a cable access show instead of “Saturday Night Live.”

That way they can complain about how that band “isn’t given a chance by the music industry” and assume they are enjoying something the greater world is too dumb to appreciate.

That band also likely would comprise men with beards and fedoras and suspenders, playing mandolins and bongos and group chanting while clapping in unison.

Or it’d be some awful, hip-hop/alt rock hybrid.

So step-up your troll-game, Sparky. Your generalization missed the mark here.

Tim Benz is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tim at tbenz@tribweb.com or via Twitter. All tweets could be reposted. All emails are subject to publication unless specified otherwise.

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