It took the Pittsburgh Steelers five games to get their second victory of the 2018 regular season, now sitting tied for third in the AFC North with a 2-2-1 record, but it was a historic moment for the franchise, and for the NFL as well.
With their victory Sunday over the Atlanta Falcons, Head Coach Mike Tomlin and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger have now won 108 games together. That surpassed the 107 victories that Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw and Head Coach Chuck Noll compiled during their 14 seasons together, posting an overall record of 107-51.
The 108 victories also moves the Tomlin-Roethlisberger duo into sole possession of third place for the most victories by a quarterback-head coach combination in NFL history, the only pairings ahead of them now being the New England Patriots with Tom Brady and Bill Belichick and the Miami Dolphins during the Dan Marino and Don Shula era.
The Steelers still have a shot, albeit a long one, to catch and surpass the Marino-Shula duo for the second-most victories as a pair in NFL history this season, but it would take some doing. The pair of Hall of Famers won 116 games together. The Steelers have 11 games left to play, so they would have to go 9-2 at least in order to move into sole possession of second place on the list.
Achieving first place on the list is a seemingly insurmountable feat. The Patriots’ pairing is approaching 200 victories together, now at 198 after defeating the Indianapolis Colts on Thursday Night Football. And there are no indications of either Brady or Belichick calling it quits.
To even reach 198 wins, Tomlin and Roethlisberger would have to win 90 more games. That would mean the earliest they could possibly achieve that is in 2024, in the second half of that season, and that is assuming they win every single game. Roethlisberger has never won more than 13 games in a season, and that was as a rookie under Bill Cowher.
Still, to stand second to unparalleled greatness (a barf bag was hopefully provided to you before reading that) is nothing to downplay. By the time Roethlisberger retires, he will in all likelihood be involved in the second-winningest quarterback-head coach pairing in NFL history.
And the fact that the Steelers have two of the top four pairings is all the more remarkable. Of course, the ultimate goal is to translate wins into trophies, and this pairing is still working on its second after winning the Super Bowl in their second season together in 2008.