Should the Pittsburgh Steelers secure a victory tonight over the Baltimore Ravens, it would make franchise history. It would be the 108th victory shared by the head coach and quarterback combination of Mike Tomlin and Ben Roethlisberger over their 11-plus seasons together. That would be one more than Chuck Noll and Terry Bradshaw achieved during the 1970s and 80s.
Mike Tomlin-Ben Roethlisberger now have 107 regular-season wins – tying Chuck Noll-Terry Bradshaw for the most by a #Steelers Head Coach-Quarterback in team history and for the 3rd-most by a HC-QB tandem in NFL history (Belichick-Brady 197, Shula-Marino 116, Noll-Bradshaw 107).
— Dom Rinelli (@drinelli) September 25, 2018
In other words, Monday’s victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers tied the two duos for the franchise record. Another win tonight would move Tomlin and Roethlisberger into sole position for the third-most wins by any head coach-quarterback combination in the history of the NFL.
The first-place duo may well be out of reach. That would be Bill Belichick and Tom Brady with the New England Patriots. They have 191 wins and counting. The Steelers would need more than five perfect seasons just to reach them, and what are the odds of Roethlisberger playing another five seasons?
But the second-place record is very much within striking distance, perhaps even this season. The pair of Don Shula and Dan Marino of the Miami Dolphins won 116 games together, and Roethlisberger and Tomlin are 10 wins from surpassing them.
If anything, this record just goes to show how unprecedented the pair of Belichick and Brady have been over the course of the past two decades. While it’s quite true that their reign will likely end within the next few years, they will almost assuredly finish with over 200 victories together, and the odds of that being surpassed are…well, low.
That is the juggernaut that the Tomlin Steelers and every other team that has played in this era has had to combat with. Like them or not, these Patriots are the most dominant group in the modern history of the NFL. Like playing against Michael Jordan in the 1990s. There’s no shame to being number two to the most prolific duo in the history of the game, unfortunately, sad as it is to say—and to admit.
Still, Tomlin and Roethlisberger’s accomplishment stands on its own. While longevity is kind of a core ingredient here, the fact of the matter is that they have also been very successful, which does include two trips to the Super Bowl, and an extra Lombardi.
From 2007 to 2018, Roethlisberger has posted a 107-53-1 record. That is 161 games played, to a winning percentage of .667. The Steelers have won two third of the games that they have played with the two working together.
That’s not far off from the Bradshaw-Noll duo at all, who went 107-51 together all-time. And, frankly, it was a lot easier to put together a championship roster in that era before the free agency era.