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Not always pretty, Tomlin makes winning sexy in Pittsburgh

By Steve Keating

The strong, silent type, Tomlin's unruffled demeanor and smoldering good looks earned the Pittsburgh Steelers coach a top spot on one of lingerie purveyor Victoria's Secret's "What is Sexy" lists in 2008.

Tomlin could be in line for more honors as he leads his team into Dallas for a February 6 Super Bowl showdown against the Green Bay Packers.

If it is true that there is nothing sexier than success then Tomlin is the NFL's George Clooney.

Since taking over the Pittsburgh coaching reins from Bill Cowher in 2007, Tomlin has posted a record of 43-21, taking his team to the Super Bowl twice in three years. He has already lifted the Lombardi trophy once.

Style points have never mattered to the Steelers or their coach, the victory always more important than the way it was achieved.

Pittsburgh's 24-19 win over the New York Jets in the AFC championship game on Sunday reflected that philosophy as the Steelers raced to a 24-0 lead then held on for the win.

"That first 30 minutes was conference champion worthy," said Tomlin. "We kind of limped home but we aren't going to complain about style points...they made the necessary plays to get the job done."

Getting the job done is the mantra for a franchise that embraces Pittsburgh's blue-collar image.

PRESTIGE JOB

Noll occupied the post for 23 years followed by Cowher, who held the job for 15 seasons before passing the baton to Tomlin in 2007.

Following in the footsteps of a Hall of Fame coach like Noll and the hugely popular Cowher left Tomlin with massive shoes to fill.

But Tomlin has managed to live up to expectations, putting his stamp on one of the NFL's iconic franchises.

"He (Tomlin) put his imprint on the team right when he first got here," said defensive tackle Chris Hoke. "When he first came in he was hardcore.

"He wanted to see the personality of this team and once he figured out the personality he knew how to work with us.

"We knew coming in he was a leader. He knew where he wanted to go and he knew what he had to do to get us there. He just had to find the guys who wanted to go with him."

A wide receiver in college, Tomlin never played a down of football in the NFL.

He started his coaching career in the U.S. college system before spending five seasons as defensive backs coach with Tampa Bay, helping the Buccaneers win a Super Bowl in 2003.

Players have described Tomlin as intelligent and low key. He is all business prowling the sidelines, always in control and rarely displays any emotion.

Already recognized as one of football's brightest young minds, Tomlin is assembling the type of resume that many observers believe puts him in the same class as New England Patriots mastermind Bill Belichick.

"Coach T (Tomlin), he looks at the game from so many different angles, very intelligent," explained defensive back Ike Taylor. "He would pick up on stuff you never think of picking up on.

"Coach T definitely got sway. A couple of years ago Victoria Secret named him man of year, you got to have some type of sway."

(Editing by Steve Ginsburg)