Mike Tomlin Joins Instagram, Tells Steelers Nation: ‘Thought We’d Have a Little Fun’

Mike Tomlin

Christian Petersen/Getty Images Head coach Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers on December 8, 2019.

Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin is famous for maintaining a threadbare presence on Twitter, tweeting only on rare occasions. So it’s especially notable that he has decided to embrace Instagram, opening his account (@coachtomlin) on July 25 with a “summer is over” pic, followed by a video clip of him striding to practice at St. Vincent College on July 27 (“Let’s get it!”).

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Tomlinisms Explained?

The first substantial content appeared on Friday July 29, when Tomlin introduced what promises to be an ongoing series, saying: “I thought we’d have a little fun and address a few quote-unquote Tomlinisms.

“You’ve heard my Tomlinisms, now get ready Steelers Nation. I am about to start explaining them. This is just the beginning,” he wrote.

In the accompanying clip the longtime Steelers coach discusses one of his favorite Tomlinisms: It’s not what you’re capable of, it’s about what you’re willing to do.

“When I say that what I mean is oftentimes we put our expectations based on our capabilities, and really we should put our expectations based on performance — based on the work that we put in. And it applies to football, but it applies to every component of life,” began Tomlin.

“I tell you to pause today, I tell you to analyze your expectations, and more importantly analyze the work and effort you put in to realize those expectations. Make sure that your effort matches your expectations,” he concluded.


Why Instagram? Why Now?

If I had to guess, I’d say that Tomlin’s decision to join Instagram was inspired by the overwhelmingly positive response to his 90-minute-long appearance on The Pivot (with former Steelers safety Ryan Clark, former Jacksonville Jaguars running back Fred Taylor and ex- Miami Dolphins running back Channing Crowder). During the podcast (which aired in late June), Tomlin discussed everything from life after Ben Roethlisberger to his infamous sideline sidestep to why he invents Tomlinisms.

As to the latter, Tomlin said: “I’m trying to capture a thought, succinctly, without damn talking too much. Because I just hate talking. I’d rather do,” he explained.

That explains why he unveils new Tomlinisms every year. For example, last summer yielded “we’re still squirreling those nuts,” Tomlin’s way of saying that roster decisions have yet to be made.

No doubt this summer will yield a few new gems, which will hopefully receive proper explanations on Instagram.

Meanwhile, Tomlin remains at or near the top of the list of current NFL players and coaches who could transition to broadcasting, a la Tony Romo.

Except he figures to remain head coach of the Steelers for years to come. In the spring of 2021, Tomlin signed a three-year extension that binds him to the team through the 2024 season. He carries a 154-85-2 career record into his 16th NFL campaign. Most notably, he has never had a team with a losing record; on three different occasions his charges have posted a .500 record, in 2012, 2013 and 2019, as per Pro Football Reference.

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