To Tomlin, the Steelers (8-7) put themselves in a position where they need a lot of assistance to make the AFC playoffs, so they shouldn't go begging for help.
The Steelers' chances of returning to the playoffs for the fifth time in six seasons were lessened when the Colts (14-1) rested their starters after taking a five-point lead Sunday, and the Jets came back to win 29-15. That put the Jets in position to make the playoffs if they win on Sunday, just as the Ravens (8-7) can if they win at Oakland.
Belichick mum on playing time
Despite the Colts' much-debated decision that not risking injury to a key player was more important than going for a 16-0 season, Tomlin doesn't believe in telling another team what to do with its personnel.
"I really have no opinion," Tomlin said. "I trust that those coaches are going to do what they feel is best for their football teams. I'm going to do what's best for mine. Very rarely do I pass judgment on the decision-making of other coaches in regard to other teams, because I don't have a pulse on their group."
Tomlin understands the delicate balance between playing regulars enough to keep them sharp but not enough to get hurt. Last season, Ben Roethlisberger sustained a concussion after Tomlin chose to play him in a meaningless season-ending game against Cleveland.
Tomlin also doesn't believe it's necessary to argue for maintaining the integrity of the game. He feels any competitive team wants to win no matter who is playing.
In 2004, the Steelers rested most of their regulars in a game the Bills needed to win to make the playoffs, yet Pittsburgh won 29-24 at Buffalo despite playing mostly backups. Not only did the Steelers keep their starters healthy, they found a future 1,000-yard rusher on their bench in Willie Parker, who had his first 100-yard game that day.
"I think we're all competitors and we play to win," Tomlin said. "Every time we come out of that tunnel, that's the intent. The ramifications, in regard to other teams, is irrelevant to me. It's more about the people that I come out of the tunnel with and our commitment to this organization, our fans, our community. So we come out to win."
If the Steelers wanted to avoid relying on outside teams for help - teams that might not feel the same urgency to win this weekend as they do - they could have prevented it by winning more games earlier in the season.
"This our bed. We're going to lay in it," Tomlin said. "We created this situation. What we are going to do is control what we can control, and that's our preparation of play for the game. We're not going to cry over spilled milk. If there's any level of disappointment in terms of how this thing unfolds, it's going to be on us."
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press