Mike Tomlin may have just become my favorite coach in professional sports.
The offseason can be a long one for NFL players. Not only is there a grueling training camp and lengthy preseason to endure before you actually get to games that count in September, but there’s also OTAs in the early summer months as a prelude to it all.
With a day of OTA practices scheduled for Monday, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin decided to do something fun instead. He took his squad to the grown-up gaming paradise that is Dave & Buster’s for a day of playing at the arcade.
“It’s probably my favorite day of the offseason,” said Mike Mitchell. “We are just out here being kids, having fun. You get to have fun with the guys that you don’t always get to do at work. This is for sure fun. It’s good team bonding for us.”
Coach Mike Tomlin has made it an annual tradition to give the players a day off during OTAs, a day for them to have fun and build camaraderie that will come in handy during the dog days of training camp and into the season.
“This is awesome,” said Sean Davis. “Like Coach said, we have team bonding, working on building chemistry. We are a new team this year. If we want to start that process early, this is great. Coming out here instead of practicing serves a purpose. You get off the field and do something like this. I am loving it.”
The players did bring one aspect of football with them…their competitiveness. Bragging rights were on the line, and nobody was holding back.
“We are out here trying to win in basketball, get as many tickets as possible,” said Joshua Dobbs. “The competitiveness never stops. It’s all a part of it.
This is awesome. Can you just imagine Antonio Brown at the Monopoly game racking up tickets by trying to get that elusive Boardwalk Bonus? How about Ben Roethlisberger and Le’Veon Bell trying to shoot up dinosaurs in the Jurassic Park game? I just need one picture on social media of James Harrison playing Mario Kart.
It’s a great idea by Tomlin. It’s obviously something the players really enjoy and if it helps build teamwork and camaraderie then it’s worth it at this point in the offseason. But could you imagine Bill Belichick doing this with the Patriots? He’d probably cut anyone who won fewer than 200 tickets.