It's all fun and games until the losses pile up.
The games were added as a reward for Super Bowl appearances in 2008 and 2010. The ban was originally instituted a few weeks ago by the team's 10 remaining Super Bowl veterans, prohibiting players with less than four years of experience from joining in on the fun because they hadn't earned that right.
Tomlin was on board with that message until separate factions developed between the veterans and those on the verboten list.
"From his point, it was dividing the team in a way," defensive leader Ryan Clark explained Thursday. "One sect of people couldn't do a certain thing and he just wanted everybody to be together -- because we're all in the losses together. We're all in the business of fixing this problem together. He didn't want anything to divide us."
Tomlin doesn't plan on removing his players from "timeout" until the season is "back on track," per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Clark insists the players aren't "tripping about it," but we have a feeling Ben Roethlisberger is taking the embargo the hardest.
It speaks to the Steelers' dire roster straits that Tomlin is reduced to putting the kibosh on recreational games and benching left tackle Mike Adams as his primary means of turning the season around. If there were better avenues for change, perhaps his team wouldn't be bringing up the rear in the AFC North.