Tomlin guided by his gut in Super Bowl title defense

Mike Tomlin celebrates after the Steelers win Super Bowl XLIII against the Cardinals. (Chris McGrath / Getty Images)

Mike Tomlin victorious after the Steelers win Super Bowl XLIII against the Arizona Cardinals. ( Chris McGrath / Getty Images)

DANA POINT, Calif. — Steelers coach Mike Tomlin likes to talk about the fact that there is no real manual for those in his profession to follow.

In his case, that is especially true. The guy is all about being guided by his instincts, which is why he hasn’t consulted with any other coach about dealing with the season after a Super Bowl victory.

“I tend to coach from my gut and some of my life experiences,” Tomlin said during the AFC coaches-media breakfast at the NFL Annual Meeting.

More than anything, Tomlin intends to rely on what he learned from what took place when he was an assistant coach with the Buccaneers after they won a Super Bowl and suffered a collapse. The greatest pitfall to avoid, he remembers from his time with the Bucs, is “dangerous assumptions” that a team can make if it gets too caught up admiring its Vince Lombardi Trophy.

“It will always be the journey and not the destination,” Tomlin said. “When you’ve been there, it makes it difficult to respect and appreciate the journey, and we’ll not take that for granted.”

Tomlin touched on other subjects, such as:

  • Contract negotiations with LB James Harrison: “I think we’re all confident that it’s something that’s going to take place. I know it’s something both parties want and the process is just running its course at this point. I don’t have a crystal ball (for when it will happen), but preferably sooner rather than later.”
  • What it will be like if Steelers owner Dan Rooney accepts an ambassadorship to Ireland and isn’t around the team on a daily basis: “I think our informal interactions, the things that have got nothing to do with our jobs as professionals, is what I will probably miss the most. I can always look forward to him, a little bit after nine o’clock, walking into my office and providing an interesting anecdote or story that may relate to the different issues of the day or may not. From a selfish standpoint, I’ll miss that. But at the same time, I’ve got a great deal of comfort in our leadership, in (Dan’s son) Art Rooney, in Kevin Colbert, and we’ll continue in business as usual.”
  • The Steelers-Ravens rivalry: “To be a part of it is something that’s special, and I think that’s something we share on both sides of the rivalry. I think the personalities, the leadership, the passion that’s displayed on both sides makes the rivalry what it is. And all you’ve got to do is look at guys like Ray Lewis and James Farrior and Derrick Mason and Hines Ward, and it’s what the game of football is about. And every time we come together, it displays the best of the game of football.”

Vic Carucci

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