Jeremy FowlerShutESPN Employees Creator
- ESPN crew author
- Beforehand a college football reporter for CBSSports.com
- College of Florida graduate
Mike TriplettShutESPN Employees Creator
- Covered Saints for eight years at New Orleans Conditions-Picayune
- Beforehand lined LSU football, San Francisco 49ers
- Iowa native and College of Iowa graduate
A posh sport will be simplified by this truism: Top quarterback-head coach tandems closing.
Sunday’s four:25 p.m. ET matchup in the Superdome parts two of the game’s easiest at some level of the final decade — the Pittsburgh Steelers‘ Ben Roethlisberger and Mike Tomlin matching wits with the New Orleans Saints‘ Drew Brees and Sean Payton.
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Brees and Payton have 117 wins together over 200 games, second to the New England Patriots‘ Tom Brady-Bill Belichick combo at some level of the Enormous Bowl period (since 1966). Tomlin and Roethlisberger are fourth on that checklist with 114 wins in 187 games.
The pairs have blended for 15 double-digit-take seasons.
In Tomlin’s eyes, the components is certain-decrease.
“Pick games. You’re now not together for over a decade for these that don’t,” Tomlin said. “That is the intention in which it goes or the coach and the quarterback get escape out of metropolis.”
Right here is a stare at both pairings from plenty of angles.
Why they’ve lasted so prolonged together
Tomlin and Roethlisberger: They play their roles successfully. Tomlin has input in each and each dwelling of crew enterprise nonetheless also gives freedom for Roethlisberger and offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner to function. From the locker room to the apply discipline, Tomlin and Roethlisberger are regularly huddling. “Verbal exchange [is key], beautiful like any actual relationship,” Tomlin said. “It’s seemingly you’ll even quiet be ready to keep up a correspondence with one but one more. I mediate that can even be what makes a a success marriage.” Tomlin and Roethlisberger are instrumental in the crew’s capacity to acknowledge to spoiled losses or underachieving stress. Sunday’s 17-10 take against the Patriots used to be a primary example. The Steelers appeared sloppy in Oakland in Week 14, nonetheless Tomlin’s defense used to be refocused and Roethlisberger spread the ball to eight varied receivers. Roethlisberger’s forty one profession comebacks in the fourth quarter or time past law assist matters, too.
Payton and Brees: Payton and Brees are on a transient checklist with the likes of Bill Walsh and Joe Montana of supreme marriages between playcaller and quarterback. They arrived in New Orleans together in 2006 — when Payton obtained his first head-coaching job and handpicked Brees as a free agent coming off of a critical shoulder harm with the San Diego Chargers. From the beginning, the Saints’ offense has been a collaborative effort that entails Brees’ input. And as Brees said now not too prolonged ago, it has evolved over time from “first grade foremost college stuff to freakin’ Calculus 303.” Heading into this season, the Saints had gained extra yards over a 12-12 months span than any crew in NFL historical past, in accordance with the Elias Sports Bureau, averaging 404.1 yards per sport. And so that they received primarily the most engaging Enormous Bowl in franchise historical past after the 2009 season.
When it nearly fell apart
Tomlin and Roethlisberger: The tandem never has been in extreme hazard of parting suggestions, nonetheless the Steelers’ two-12 months rebuild from 2012 to ’13 used to be scheme to be a check. Tomlin changed offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, a Tall Ben accepted, with Todd Haley, who did not mesh with Roethlisberger for aspects of six seasons. Pittsburgh stripped down an aging defense and followed an 8-8 season with a four-8 clip in 2013. Roethlisberger and Tomlin helped Pittsburgh rally for four straight wins to invent the 12 months. They narrowly missed the playoffs, nonetheless they’ve produced now not lower than 10 wins in each and each season since. In past years, Roethlisberger’s feedback have signaled doable concerns with coaching choices, nonetheless these were believed to be directed at Haley bigger than Tomlin. He hasn’t hinted at any discord since Haley’s departure.
Payton and Brees: The Saints hit a rut with three straight 7-9 seasons from 2014 to ‘Sixteen. And though Payton never came shut to being fired, both he and the crew now not lower than entertained the root of a mutual separation after the ’15 season. Payton’s mentor Bill Parcells consistently believed in the root of lively on early rather then staying too prolonged. Nonetheless Payton did not gape a likelihood he cherished enough to seriously explore any switch talks — and he and the Saints in the discontinuance hurt up renewing their vows with a 2016 contract extension. That grew to change into out to be a gigantic circulation since Payton has helped to supervise an high-quality rebuilding effort. Brees is one in all easiest six players on primarily the most modern roster who were with the crew for bigger than four years. And Payton has persevered to adapt as a playcaller, adding unique wrinkles just like the read-likelihood with 1/3-string quarterback Taysom Hill and his inventive converse of working backs Alvin Kamara and Tag Ingram.
How they’ve one but one more’s serve
Tomlin and Roethlisberger: Every so often ever if ever will Tomlin publicly rip Roethlisberger for his play. He makes a level to beef up him. He is conscious of Roethlisberger is key to what the Steelers enact, and inflicting undue friction might per chance maybe maybe complicate matters. Resolve Roethlisberger’s high interception complete this season. Roethlisberger is tied for the league lead with 15, and just a few weeks ago Tomlin used to be requested about the pattern. “He wasn’t carrying the ball into the conclude zone and fumbling it for a touchback,” said Tomlin about Roethlisberger’s teammates fumbling. “He beautiful needs to continue to be thoughtful about the preservation of the ball, like he consistently is, and predicament the responsibility that includes being our signal-caller. I don’t gape any concerns in that dwelling. Nonetheless us, collectively, have to enact an even bigger job.” Roethlisberger has made certain publicly that he and Tomlin keep up a correspondence successfully and credit the coach for maintaining a fixed message. And after the rib-harm scenario in Oakland that introduced about Roethlisberger to go over 25 minutes of sport movement, both the quarterback and coach had the identical story: The shameful X-ray machine used to be unreadable. That’s teamwork.
Payton and Brees: Brees said he respects Payton is the “boss,” nonetheless he also said he feels like there is an launch line of communication and his opinions are consistently valued. “There isn’t any ego,” Brees said. “I admire whatever boundaries there’ll be between player and head coach, and but there is a friendship or a bond on fable of our journey together. There’s a gigantic deal of admire.” Likewise, Payton appreciates how thorough Brees is in terms of mastering the game scheme at some level of the week. I wrote a story with the 2 of them this summer on the art of the playcall, and when I requested Brees how most continuously he hears the main three or four words of a play and is conscious of what the comfort goes to be, he said, “about ninety nine p.c of the time.” When requested how most continuously he doesn’t even have to hear the main note, Brees laughed and said, “Well, in particular situations, plenty.”
What they’re announcing
“Drew Brees and clearly his outlandish résumé and journey and continuity interior their offensive constructing with Coach Payton is something to dwelling. It permits them to circulation interior and out of personnel groups with gigantic walk. It permits them to assault you in a ramification of suggestions. I am certain he has rather just a few autonomy at the line of scrimmage. I am certain in his dwelling venue that might be critical.” — Tomlin
“First off with Mike, I’ve known Mike a truly prolonged time, and his groups have consistently been physical, difficult. They’re fight-examined, they’ve played in a ton of postseason games, and they’ve received a Enormous Bowl championship, played in a single other. And I mediate a historical quarterback like Ben understands take — and their file reflects that. The identical formula with Drew, for these that charted the full receivers Ben’s expert and labored with, and the full tight ends and working backs, and even varied coordinators, there’s been transition. We’ve seen it happen right here with Drew with the evolution of what you’re doing — and the identical might per chance maybe maybe be the case with these guys.” — Payton
What’s subsequent for every and each duo
Tomlin and Roethlisberger: There’s cause to deem Roethlisberger will invent his Steelers profession with Tomlin. Roethlisberger, who turns 37 in March, is beneath a contract that expires in 2020. The Steelers might per chance maybe maybe revisit that deal this offseason and push Roethlisberger’s wage nearer to $30 million. After 124 wins in lower than 12 seasons, Tomlin is rarely forever going any place. The Steelers have had three coaches since 1969 and just like the soundness Tomlin gives. If Roethlisberger performs three seasons and retires earlier than his Fortieth birthday, the winning seemingly will continue. Roethlisberger has never had a losing season since coming into the league in 2004. Most of these seasons have come with Tomlin by his facet.
Payton and Brees: Ideally one other Enormous Bowl in about six weeks. It’s laborious to speak how a long time Brees has left, since he turns forty in January. Then again it is easy to gape that this is mainly the most engaging opportunity he and Payton have had but to double up on Lombardi trophies. The Saints (12-2) need beautiful one extra victory to lock up the NFC’s No. 1 seed (and they need Payton and Brees to lift their offense out of a most modern three-sport stagger). Brees has said over and over he thinks he might per chance maybe maybe play at a high level till he’s forty five years outmoded. And it is laborious to doubt him angry by the season he’s having. Nonetheless, Brees has never specified that he needs to play that prolonged. Maybe one other Enormous Bowl would give him an valid cause to scurry away in a 12 months or two? I mediate Payton will stick round after Brees leaves, though. Payton is a quarterbacks coach by switch who as soon as developed Tony Romo in Dallas. And he might per chance maybe maybe be the actual coach to design the following guy (the Saints came very shut to drafting Patrick Mahomes closing 12 months, speaking of supreme marriages). There beautiful has never been a pressing need for that “subsequent guy” for occurring 13 years now.