DALLAS (AP) – Mike Tomlin stood stone-faced behind the Lombardi Trophy as a few dozen cameras fired away.
“Smile, Mike!” one photographer yelled out.
“Nah,” the Pittsburgh Steelers coach said without a hint of a grin on another cold, snowy Friday in Big D.
He eventually cracked a smile, but this is serious stuff for Tomlin as the Steelers go for the seventh Super Bowl title in franchise history Sunday against the Green Bay Packers.
“We’re putting the finishing touches, of course, on our plan here,” Tomlin said in a sparsely attended final media session that lasted barely five minutes. “It’s been a good week, but of course, like the Green Bay Packers, I’m sure we’re all getting a little antsy and getting ready to play.”
Tomlin will keep an eye on his guys during the next few days to make sure they remain even-keeled with so much at stake.
But what about the 38-year-old coach who could be hoisting that trophy for the second time in his four seasons?
“I’m a robot,” Tomlin said. “I’m just going to ride the wave.”
And it could carry him to a special place among NFL coaches. He would become only the 13th coach in league history to win multiple rings.
“It’s awesome, it really is,” Tomlin said of the opportunity. “It’s humbling, it’s inspiring, it motivates you. It’s all those things. I think fortunately for us, we have what you can’t buy, which is legacy — which is unbelievable standard and expectation and all those great things.”
The Steelers had a final full practice at TCU set for later Friday, and then Tomlin said the players would have some free time at night to spend with family and friends. Then, they’ll have a “dress rehearsal” Saturday in their last practice, going through what Tomlin called “a mock game” before the Super Bowl at Cowboys Stadium.
Tomlin said rookie Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey, dealing with a high left ankle sprain, needs to practice Friday in order to play. Pouncey received treatment on the ankle while his teammates practiced Thursday.
He was injured early in the Steelers’ 24-19 victory over the New York Jets in the AFC championship game nearly two weeks ago. Pouncey needed crutches and wore a walking boot on his left foot as he got off the team plane in Dallas on Monday, but didn’t need either during the players’ final media session Thursday.
If he can’t play, Doug Legursky would make his first NFL start at center.
The Dallas-Fort Worth area has been hit by several inches of snow and subfreezing temperatures since the Steelers arrived, but Tomlin said it hasn’t bothered the team.
“We’re kind of used to inclement weather,” Tomlin said. “At least from my perspective, it hasn’t changed how we’ve worked at all.”
In a few days, Tomlin could be back in chilly Pittsburgh with another Super Bowl trophy — and smiling.
“It’s the pinnacle,” he said of being a champion. “Thirty-two teams start this journey with the same intentions. So, of course, you’re overcome with emotions. Great feelings of satisfaction, but also humility because you realize that there are probably a lot of people that are deserving, to be quite honest with you.”
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)