The similarities with the Chicago Bears two victories this season are eerily striking in its very nature. The Pittsburgh Steelers and Seattle Seahawks are two entirely different football teams, but the Bears approach to each game seemed to be virtually the same. The Bears began each game very lethargically on both sides of the ball, stayed in the game while being steamrolled for most of the first half, picked up the intensity in the second half, scored on late drives engineered by Bears QB Jay Cutler and capitalized on two missed field goals by the opposing kicker to scratch out hard fought victories in each game.
Where the similarities end for the two victories are in the post-game press conferences from the opposing coaches. Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin is fresh off a Super Bowl winning season in 2008. Seahawks head coach Jim Mora, Jr. was just anointed heir apparent to former Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren. The common denominator: each coaches team lost to the Chicago Bears with their kickers missing 2 field goals that ultimately proved to be the margin of loss. But this is where the similarities end for Tomlin and Mora.
“No excuses for those,” Mora said. “If you’re a kicker in the National Football League, you should make those kicks, bottom line, end of story, period. No excuses, no wind, it doesn’t matter. You’ve got to make those kicks, especially in a game like this where you’re kicking, scratching and fighting, playing your tail off and you miss those kicks, not acceptable. Not acceptable. Absolutely not acceptable.”
So, coach Mora, can you tell us how you really feel about the kicking situation? Mora was asked if the team will consider a change at that position.
“We’ll look at changes everywhere,” Mora said. “We’re not going to fight our [behind] and have a field-goal kicker miss two field goals. It’s not going to happen.”
“I haven’t talked to Jeff yet about why he missed two kicks. Of course, this is uncharacteristic of him. He just kicked the game winner in overtime last week, and that’s what we’re used to. We aren’t used to what happened with him today.”
The comparison of reactions between Tomlin and Mora couldn’t be any more divergent in nature. In addition to Tomlin, several Steeler teammates came to the defense of Reed, each stating their contribution to the loss. The same for the Seahawk players, who each accepted their responsibility in yesterday’s loss.
Rarely is a loss attributed to one person, especially in the NFL. Each player has a role in victory and defeat and virtually every coach worth his salt recognizes this and states so appropriately in his post-game press conferences. Mike Tomlin displayed the class and professionalism of a true champion in his post-game press conference. In contrast, Jim Mora, Jr’s lack of class and professionalism in his post-game press conference is highly symbolic of a coach who still doesn’t get it .
Attitude and tone are extremely important elements in the dynamics of successful teams. Head coaches are directly responsible for setting the attitude and tone to foster a winning environment. Tomlin’s approach has led his team to the pinnacle, a Super Bowl championship, in only two years. As for Mora’s approach — he is most likely looking for his next fall guy on the waiver wire .