Super Bowl Notebook: Tomlin Coach of Year.

TAMPA – The youngest coach to ever lead a team to the Super Bowl, Mike Tomlin, was named NFL Coach of the Year by Motorola after a fan vote at NFL.com.

The other finalists included AP Coach of the Year Mike Smith of the Atlanta Falcons.

"It's an honor … since this award was voted on by the fans," said the 36-year-old Tomlin. "They're the reason why we do what it is that we do. I'm very appreciative of that."

Tomlin is the third Pittsburgh Steelers coach to win Coach of the Year honors. Chuck Noll won the AFC Coach of the Year Award from UPI in 1972 and won the NFL Coach of the Year Award in 1989 from the Maxwell Football Club.

Bill Cowher was voted NFL Coach of the Year by the Associated Press and The Sporting News in 1992, and by The Sporting News in 2004.

NO TOMORROW FOR WARD

Hines Ward worked out Wednesday with a brace on his injured right knee, and on Thursday practiced for the first time since spraining his MCL in the AFC title game against the Baltimore Ravens.

Ward guaranteed reporters on Thursday that he would play Sunday in the Super Bowl, just as he played in Super Bowl XL with a shoulder injury sustained two days before the game.

"Me and the Super Bowls have had our battles," Ward said. "I was in a sling Friday and Saturday night (the last time). I woke up Sunday morning and had to get a shot in my shoulder. I couldn't even reach my arm above my head. With this injury, at least I had two weeks to heal. With that injury, it was a day to get ready. Once your adrenaline gets going and after the shot kicked in, I didn't even know I had an injury in the Super Bowl. I felt it the next day. There was no question about that. It was all worth it because there is no tomorrow."

Ward, of course, was the MVP of Super Bowl XL.

QUOTABLE COORDINATORS

• Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians on Ben Roethlisberger's motorcycle accident: "It is amazing to me that he came back and played that fast. He showed toughness that I try to explain to people that he has. I get a little upset when I hear somebody on television call him a ‘Drama King.' This guy has approached the border. He takes a lot of hits because he plays backyard football sometimes and he gets up swinging. Those guys know it that play in front of him. It's the natural process of the great ones."

• Arians on the Cardinals' defense: "It's a hybrid 4-3. The zone pressure is similar to ours. I like ours in other ways. It's the rogue defense of the NFL right now. You see a big turn back to the 3-4. I'm not going to figure that Bert (Berry) is going to be a linebacker. I'm not going to have a running back block him as a linebacker. You treat them as a 4-3 and try to give it a little more flexibility."

• Defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau on joining the Steelers in 1992: "Well, there's no question that it was a melting pot. All three of us had been defensive coordinators. Coach (Bill) Cowher had the final voice because he was the head coach, and Dom Capers was our defensive coordinator. I certainly was not a prime mover at first, but we didn't talk much about the fire zones early. But as we got to where people were comfortable with what we were going to do, we began to get into some different pressures and we had success with them. So, it was just an out-pouring of a lot of guys who had some good defensive exposure."

• LeBeau on preparing for all that the Cardinals' offense can do: "Well, a wise man once said, ‘He who defends everything, defends nothing.' That was Fredrick the Great, the unifier of the Prussian states. I think he knew what he was talking about. He had a pretty good competitive record."


Steel City Insider Top Stories