Early results from Web poll and the street say Steelers Nation backs hiring of Tomlin

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Ask Rebekah Murphy of Spring Hill and she'll readily tell you -- she feels she's the authority on all things Pittsburgh. This lifelong city resident has what she considers the ultimate credential.

"I'm a waitress at Eat'n Park," Murphy, 24, said. "I mean, does it get any more Pittsburgh than that?"

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The PG's Colin Dunlap gets reaction from Steelers fans about the hiring of new Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin:

Pete Weaver, Upper St. Clair: Wanted Tomlin
Rebekah Murphy, Spring Hill: Wanted LeBeau or Grimm

Mike Tomlin's Resume

And with that said, you can bet someone like Murphy -- a Point Park University student -- had an opinion yesterday about the hiring of Mike Tomlin as the Steelers' head coach.

As snow fell and Murphy took a drag from her cigarette while standing on the corner of Wood Street and Third Avenue yesterday, she lamented about the change at the top. As far as she was concerned, the Steelers had the right guy, offensive line coach Russ Grimm, under their noses and passed on him in favor of Tomlin, a former Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator.

"I don't understand why they went out of the organization," Murphy said. "It is kind of a new start when we have a team that is already so established. Why would they not pick Grimm?"

Murphy was far from the only person to have an opinion on Tomlin's hiring. As of 8 p.m. last night, more than 25,000 people responded to a post-gazette.com poll asking if the Steelers made the correct choice in hiring Tomlin. It is the most votes of any post-gazette.com poll. The majority of pollsters backed Tomlin's hiring. (Editor's note: In two days, 35,848 votes were cast. Of those, 22,347 or 62% liked Tomlin's hiring while 13,501 or 38% did not)

And from Pete Weaver's vantage, the Steelers also got the right guy in Tomlin. Weaver, 60, is an Upper St. Clair resident who is a longtime Steelers season-ticket holder. His family has had season tickets since Weaver was 9 and he estimated that he has attended more than 350 games, including at least one road trip each season. Weaver sees a whole lot of a fresh-faced Bill Cowher circa 1992 in Tomlin.

"I think he is exactly like Cowher was when he came other than the tone of his skin," Weaver said, alluding to Tomlin becoming the first African-American head coach hired by the Steelers.

Weaver is well versed in the logistics of constructing a solid workplace. He is the senior vice president of leadership solutions at Development Dimensions International, a Bridgeville-based company that is a top human resources consulting firm. He believed that the longer the hiring process went on, the more Tomlin's chances increased.

"I was puzzled by the length of time. If it was going to be Russ Grimm it would seem to me that they would have pulled the trigger more quickly," Weaver said. "I personally was sort of hoping for Tomlin."

But, while Tomlin's appointment is a big factor, there are bigger pieces to the Steelers' puzzle.

"He is a large component, but the game is played on the field," Weaver said. "The coach doesn't fumble. Maybe the coach can put the fear of God into some people and they can try harder to hold onto the ball, but the game is played on the field. The coach is putting together a culture and a game plan and the players are going out and playing against the competition.

"The coaches are key, but they aren't the whole story."

There is a truth in that, but, yesterday in Pittsburgh and all across Steeler Nation, Mike Tomlin was, without any question, the story.

Colin Dunlap can be reached at cdunlap@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1459.


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