NFL.com’s Brian Baldinger ranked his top three underrated coaches in the NFL and Mike Tomlin was ranked at the top. In this video on NFL.com, here’s his rationale.
“All the injuries he suffered last year. Maurkice Pouncey to Le’Veon Bell to all three quarterbacks at some time that got hurt. You look at all the injuries sustained, including Antonio Brown, and all they did was get to the Divisional Championship game in Denver and came close to winning that game. That man Mike Tomlin knows how to motivate players. Knows how to keep away from injuries and talking about them and never making excuses for his style of play.”
That may not be the most iron-clad, or even coherent (Divisional Championship?) explanation in the world but Steelers’ fans can probably relate to the sentiment. While Tomlin’s reputation is well-known around here, he’s not often talked about in league circles.
Heck, the Steelers themselves aren’t referred to often. Not a splashy team, not a huge media market, they’re just doing their thing out here in Western Pennsylvania. All Tomlin’s done is compete and win since coming Pittsburgh hired him in 2007, winning one Super Bowl and going to another.
His career winning percentage of .639 tops Bill Cowher (.623) and Chuck Noll (.556). Tomlin’s percentage is the 5th best for active, qualified coaches, and 21st all-time. If you’re curious, the best win percentage in NFL history belongs to Guy Chamberlin, who owns a .784 record from 1922-1927. He won four NFL titles, three with the Canton Bulldogs and one with the Frankford Yellow Jackets.
Tomlin’s coaching style, though divisive in moments, is liked by the majority. He’s someone his players love, the type of coach guys will run through a wall for. His confidence is unwavering, his “next man up” mentality not just words but a standard that you see on the field. That’s probably what Baldinger was getting at with all his injury comments.
Tomlin is also one of the league’s more aggressive coaches. His willingness to go for two could make him a pioneer in that regard and the Steelers seem certain to again lead the league in that category this season.
Finishing behind Tomlin was a former Steeler, Bruce Arians, at #2, and John Fox at #3 on Baldinger’s list.