Pittsburgh Steelers head coach, Mike Tomlin has to be used to the constant criticism by now, right? Year in and year out, especially recently, the most pessimistic of Steelers fans on top of certain media outlets grasping for attention bring a discussion to the head coach’s job. Whether it is because of a few questionable game calls, certain things that Tomlin has said off the field, or even the fact that Tomlin was the first black head coach in Steelers history after Bill Cowher left behind an incredible career of coaching, the head coach is unfairly criticized.
Tomlin is a nationally revered coach, among the best in the entire sport. Players around the league hear what it is like playing for him through former players, and the “Steeler way” is a known idea that Tomlin instills through any players that play for the Steelers.
#Steelers HC Mike Tomlin:
162-94-2 (.643, 3rd among active coaches)
0 losing seasons since 2007 (most non-losing seasons to begin coaching career ever)
1 Super Bowl
2 AFC Championships
7 AFC North Championships
9 seasons with 10+ wins
66 of his players sent to Pro Bowl#HereWeGo
— Rav (@anthonyravasio) July 6, 2022
Not only is it ludicrous, it’s to the point that it is almost funny. His accolades, accomplishments and player reviews speaks for itself.
These certain Steelers fans and even some national media outlets are bearish, yet again, on Tomlin and the Steelers this season. 15 seasons, 15 different situations, no sub-.500 seasons. It’s an achievement that gets little to no mileage anymore because of who the Steelers are, but should not take anything away from such an accomplishment. Tomlin’s excellence is so mundane and predictable that every loss constitutes some kind of “time to rebuild” conversation.
Why will this season be any different? Combine Tomlin’s pure ability to just win on top of somewhat favorable roster conditions compared to recent years, there is no reason to think this year will “finally be the year.” For all we know, there may never be “the year.” Will that finally get him the respect?
Seasons where Tomlin proved his excellence
Tomlin went 8-8 with Devlin “Duck” Hodges and Mason Rudolph at QB in 2019. Those weren’t the only issues with that 2019 squad either. James Conner missed six games, JuJu Smith-Schuster missed four games, and defensive end Stephon Tuitt missed the final 10 games of the season. Starting center Maurkice Pouncey missed three games. Starting left guard Ramon Foster and starting tight end Vance McDonald were both sidelined two games for concussions.
The last time I checked, I would rather have Mitch Trubisky and Kenny Pickett and a top 15 defense compared to that team. Tomlin still willed that team to an 8-8 record.
There have been multiple seasons outside of the 2019 season where Tomlin has proven he is a top coach in the league.
Despite significant injuries to multiple starters during the 2015 season, the Steelers finished with a 10-6 record (2nd in the AFC North) and advanced to the Divisional Round of the playoffs. The Steelers finished third in the NFL in total offense (1st in the AFC), while the defense posted 48 sacks.
In 2014, Tomlin orchestrated one of the top offensive outputs in team history. The Steelers broke numerous offensive records, including points scored (436), total yards (6,577), passing yards per game (301.6) and total first downs (379).
One of his best coaching performances may have arguably come in the second half of the 2013 season. Despite an 0-4 and 2-6 start to the season, the Steelers finished the regular season surging to a 6-2 second-half record, falling just short of the playoffs after the Chargers missed a game-winning field goal that would have gotten them in.
A great teacher and leader off the field
It was already a known characteristic that Tomlin is a great person and teacher off the field. With the way he commands the locker room and the respect of players, it is obvious anyone that has played for him would listen to his life teachings as well.
Two weeks ago, Tomlin went on The Pivot Podcast with former player Ryan Clark and discussed a lot outside of football. It is an absolute must watch, as a lot of what Tomlin says can be used by anyone, no matter how different the lifestyle is. He teaches players how to be good men and not just good at football, and isn’t that what matters at the end of the day?
Some national media members understand. It took them long enough.
What do you think, #SteelerNation? Do you think Mike Tomlin should be on the hot seat regardless of what happens this season or not? Are you happy with what Tomlin has done so far in his tenure with the Steelers? Click to comment below!