After a disappointing playoff season and early exit from the postseason, Mike Tomlin caught plenty of heat from Steelers’ Nation. It doesn’t sound like ownership feels remotely the same way. Speaking with the media, Art Rooney II made it very clear he is happy to have Tomlin on his sideline.
From ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.
Art Rooney II praises Tomlin. “It’s always easy for people to say, well, you know, you should get rid of your coach. OK, well, who are you hiring next?…I’m very comfortable Mike is our coach and happy he’s our coach. I think he’s one of the best coaches in the NFL.”
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) February 7, 2018
Rooney also shot down previous reports that said minority owners had sent a letter to Rooney asking for Tomlin to be fired. Rooney said he never got such a letter and joked if the “Pony Express” was still delivering it.
No matter your thoughts and feelings on Tomlin, it was always obvious his job was never in any danger. Ownership stuck by him after a pair of 8-8 seasons and Tomlin rewarded them by turning things around.
Of course, they still haven’t reach their ultimate goal of winning a Super Bowl, and there are certainly valid criticisms of him. Clock management (*a wild David Todd appears*) has been an issue and his “gut, not numbers” approach can make for some head-scratching decisions. I’ve been particularly critical of him when it comes to his valuation and evaluation of special teams, where I think he’s struggled for quite some time.
But with the core in place and Tomlin still proving he can keep the locker room together despite whatever happens; this was, after all, a 13-3 team that went through a lot in 2017, Tomlin’s not going anywhere. Rooney is just saying what we already knew.