Dec 20, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin on the sidelines against the Denver Broncos during the first half at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

Is Mike Tomlin escaping national media criticism because he’s black?

Jason Whitlock of FOX Sports sure thinks so.



“Mike Tomlin is the most coddled coach, perhaps in the history of professional sports,” Whitlock said, appearing on The Herd Wednesday. “He is untouchable, and it’s inappropriate. I think the guy is talented, I think he’s done a good job, but he’s not above reproach.”

Whitlock then talked about how his assistant coaches were “completely out of control” in the AFC wild card game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

While most of the negative attention stemming from the embarrassment of a contest was tilted towards Marvin Lewis’ gang, there is no doubt Tomlin and his crew deserve plenty of criticism.

Indeed, two of his assistants, Mike Munchak (pulling the hair of Reggie Nelson) and Joey Porter (jawing at Bengals players during the injury time out when Antonio Brown was on the ground), were involved in altercations with Bengals players in the game.

“He’s clueless, and that’s why his assistant coaches are clueless,” Whitlock said.

Both coaches are facing potential discipline from the league for their actions.



Another incident that was brought up during the discussion with Colin Cowherd was Tomlin’s infamous sideline trip of Jacoby Jones.

The problem with Whitlock’s claim is that Tomlin’s counterpart from the wild card game is also a man of color, and Lewis has faced criticism aplenty — especially since Saturday’s debacle.

If it’s about race, then why would Tomlin be “coddled,” as Whitlock says, while Lewis gets pounded?

Perhaps it’s about something else. Whatever the case may be, Whitlock is on to something when he points out Tomlin’s relative lack of national criticism. Of course, maybe winning a Super Bowl has that effect on a coach.