In light of the comments from President Barack Obama and Commissioner Roger Goodell, Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin has his ideas about letting kids play football.
While Obama said he would have to think twice about letting his kids play the sport and Goodell countered with an “absolutely” for his kids, Tomlin said the sport is a great way to build character.
Tomlin told Steelers.com that he doesn’t like the way football is being portrayed because of the health and safety issues. He said there’s more to the game than the physical aspect.
“I wanna sing it from the rooftops. Football has been great to me in my participation in it, not only as a coach but as a player. I buy into it. I believe it to the core. I want my sons to share those same experiences if they love the game, and to this point they’ve proven that they do.”
Tomlin, who has two sons unlike Obama and Goodell, said both of his sons (ages 11 and 12) have played tackle football for the past two years.
“They came to me, and I was interested in waiting until they were a little bit older so that they could appreciate some of the rules of the game, because the more you understand the rules of the game, the safer the game is,” said Tomlin of sons Dino and Mason. “But so many of their friends were playing, and they approached me with it. I consented. They enjoy it. I enjoy it for them.”
He said he is a better person for playing football and he expects his sons to benefit from it as well.
“I think there are enrichment opportunities (from football) that are above and beyond finances,” said Tomlin. “The financial gain, or the potential financial gain, is evident. For me, it was a means to educate myself, it was a means to go to college. But also, the experiences I had while I was in that situation are ones I can’t quantify or put a price tag on. I’m better for it. The places I’ve gone, the people I’ve met, just the quality of my life has been enriched by playing the game of football. I want that for my kids, even though the financial end of it might not be highlighted for them. But I do want them to share in some of the enrichment experiences I’ve been involved in because of my association with the game of football.
“For example, I never had a passport or had been out of the country until I played a game in Tokyo, Japan, during my sophomore year in college. Some of the best people, some of the most influential people in my life, people who have given me the recipe for success outside of football — making good, sound business decisions, doing the right things from a life perspective, setting up things for your children and your spouse — I have developed some great relationships with people who have helped me in those ways, and quite frankly the only reason I met them was through the avenue that football has provided.”
– Bill Bradley, contributing editor