Let’s be clear. The Pittsburgh Steelers’ owners outside of the Rooney family don’t particularly matter when it comes to running the team and making decisions. They are just there to make their money. The likelihood of them getting their way on anything of importance is slim at best. Thomas Tull has perhaps been the most successful in elbowing his way through thanks to his work in the film industry.
So whoever the minority owners are who actually think that they can influence Art Rooney II into parting ways with the team’s head coach, Mike Tomlin, after posting the second-most wins in 11 seasons by a coach in NFL history, ought to have a talking to, and if they don’t get in line, should be removed.
Ed Bouchette evidently talked about this before I did (I did not read his article), but it bears repeating. The notion that this would even come about is farcical, and frankly I find that it reveals a lack of insight into the game from among these limited partners.
The Steelers are fortunate to have been run by a football family. Art Rooney II might have made his fortunes elsewhere, unlike Dan Rooney, whose life was basically his Steelers, his family, and his religion, but as Dan’s son, he was around the game all his life, and in spite of what reputation he might have in the minds of some, he knows the game.
And he knows how to run an organization. Art Rooney might not have had the appropriate football sense to create a winner all on his own, hiring coaches with a habit of flipping their resources in exchange for ‘name’ players who were often past their prime, but the team’s record of success since the NFL merger speaks for itself.
And that record includes the past 11 years under Tomlin, during which they have won over two thirds of their games and never posted a losing record. They are second only to the New England Patriots in virtually every conceivable category during that time span.
They are one of four teams to have won at least 10 games in each of the past four years, the only two teams with New England to reach the postseason all four times. They are one of only two teams with New England to reach the Divisional Round in each of the past four years.
Sunday’s loss was quite a disappointment all around. But it is not an indictment on the Tomlin era. This is a team that was just in the AFC Championship game a year ago. They fell short this season, but they will be back next year. And it will be under Tomlin.
This folly of actually thinking that the Steelers can be a better team by getting rid of Tomlin is the melodrama to end all melodramas in what has to be the most absurd season in recent team history when it comes to off-field storylines. If you think the team will find a better coach than Tomlin by firing him and opening up a search, you are quite simply wrong.