Mike Tomlin has always been described as a "player's coach": a coach that forms friendly relationships with the players and gets to their level rather than posing as a silent dictator or father-figure. At 41, Coach is still pretty young for a coach and is still the youngest to ever win a Super Bowl.
So to keep the team focused during the next several must-win situations starting this week at the Jets, Coach is breaking that whole friendly, one-of-the-guys routine. He is banning all "toys" and games from the locker room as punishment. This is definitely as some father-like "inspiration" to focus if you know what I mean.
Games that the players enjoy while hanging around the locker room like table tennis, shuffleboard, and pool are banned as well as playing on your phone or watching Netflix or something. If Coach calls a phone a "toy" that's just straight-up funny.
This is a pretty clear and kind of strange indication of how serious Coach is at cultivating a winner from this season. We're not too sure how the distraction of these forms of entertainment could hinder a team from winning games, having not ever been professional football player ourselves. It reminds us of some of the crappy parenting that we all endured growing up ("Go to your room!"). But instead of being bad little boys and girls by getting dad's car dirty or forgetting to close the back door, the Steelers were being naughty by not winning.
According to the source above, the ban was only introduced to players with less than 4 years experience. But now the ban has spread to the whole roster, so that means veterans like Troy Polamalu and Brett Keisel can't check their Twitter before and after practice. Oh, and no more ping pong, Troy!