Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I Met Mike Tomlin, Head Coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers

A couple of weeks ago, I had a chance to travel to Pittsburgh, PA with my good friend, Darrin Gray, who works for Family First.

FF is the organization that puts on the All Pro Dad and All Star Dad events around different NFL and MLB cities. And All Pro Dad is the fatherhood initiative that former Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy started with the Colts' offensive coordinator, Clyde Christensen.

Darrin and I traveled from Indianapolis to Pittsburgh for the All Pro Dad Steelers Father & Kids Experience, and I had a chance to help out with media relations, and some of the different ongoing events. I was also the self-appointed social media guy, tweeting the bejeezus out of the entire event. (Family First has a real social media guy who does an awesome job, but he wasn't there, and most of you know what a Twitter slut I am anyway, so what was I supposed to do?!)

When I was growing up in Muncie, IN, you were given two choices for football teams, the Dallas Cowboys and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Since the Steelers were THE team to beat during the 70s, a lot of us were Steelers fans. So it was quite an honor to be in their practice facility for even a couple of hours.

"Wow," I said to myself more than once, "Hines Ward works out on this field. Troy Polamalu beats the hell out of people on this field." I wanted to take just a couple blades of Astroturf with me, but I held off. I took photos instead.

I also had a chance to meet the Steelers' head coach, Mike Tomlin. He's a bigger guy than he looks on TV. When he's on TV, he looks like he's maybe 5'10", and kind of skinny. He's not. His players are just that much bigger. You have to respect a guy who can command the respect and loyalty of 51 guys who are his size or bigger. (There are 53 guys on a football team, but the kicker and punter tend to be little bitty guys, so I didn't include them.)

This was a big deal for me, since the Steelers remain my #2 team, behind the Colts. It was a real honor to meet Mike Tomlin, former center Jeff Hartings, and to even see all the Super Bowl trophies lined up in their big trophy room. Something tells me they're going to need to make a little more room in a few years.

Posted via email from Erik Deckers

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