Mike Tomlin might not like it but Art Rooney II may be getting him some help in 2019. Rooney met with Steelers’ reporters today for his end-of-the-year wrap up interview which broached several subjects. Much of it looked in the rear view mirror but moving forward, Rooney suggested the team will add an assistant to help Tomlin with challenge decisions. From Ed Bouchette, who tweeted it out minutes ago.
Art Rooney said he has talked to Mike Tomlin about having someone assist him with challenge calls on the field, but that would not be that person's only role. He called it "important"
— Ed Bouchette (@EdBouchette) January 16, 2019
Art Rooney II does not expect any more coaching changes aside from replacing those coaches who didn't have contracts renewed. He is open to having someone help Mike Tomlin with replay challenges.
— Joe Rutter (@tribjoerutter) January 16, 2019
Tomlin has lost his last ten challenges. The last call he got overturned came in the 2016-2017 playoff game against the Miami Dolphins.
We recently wrote about the Atlanta Falcons hiring a specific challenge/replay coach with head coach Dan Quinn taking over full-time defensive playcalling duties.
As Rooney says, that assistant wouldn’t just handle challenges. It’s unclear what the other roles may be. Perhaps something to do with clock management or something else gameday related. It’s not entirely clear if that assistant would come in or out of house.
Fans have wished for such a hire for several years now. Tomlin’s inconsistencies come from choosing to go with his “gut” in some of his decision-making, especially as it relates to the clock, which makes him unpredictable in how he’ll handle things on a week-to-week basis.
With challenges though, even Tomlin has gone against some of his “rules” of what he will or won’t fight. More than once in 2018, he threw the red flag on spot fouls without a clear yard mark indicator, something he said in the past he’d never challenge because of the low odds of winning.
As Joe Rutter noted in his tweet, there won’t be any more coaching changes this season. The team let go of Joey Porter and James Saxon, hired Teryl Austin as defensive/secondary assistant, and named Shaun Sarrett offensive line coach after Mike Munchak made his lateral move to Denver.
The team has yet to hire a running backs coach. There’s been speculation Keith Butler will work with the OLBs in 2019 as Porter’s replacement.