I know, I know. Mike Tomlin – nor anyone involved in the Pittsburgh Steelers organization – will care about head coach rankings. But hey, maybe you do. Rotoworld’s Patrick Daugherty released his list following the 2018 season. We’ve written about it for a couple years now and for my money, Daugherty’s evaluations are always well-founded and explained.
In this year’s edition, he has Tomlin falling from 4th to 7th place in the head coach pecking order. Exiting a disappointing year, failing to make the playoffs, a drop isn’t surprising. On Tomlin, Daugherty writes:
“Is any coach more difficult to evaluate than Mike Tomlin? His career .654 winning percentage is an even more impressive .675 over the past five years, but he has just three playoff wins to show for it…Stars will always be given more leeway, but Tomlin has struggled to find the appropriate equilibrium. On the field, his team is notorious for playing up and down to its competition. With the season on the line last December, Tomlin oversaw a loss to pathetic Oakland before beating eventual Super Bowl-champion New England the following week. Tomlin offers a yearly Super Bowl ceiling. He will only reach it if he stops making mistakes on the ground floor.”
It’s hard to argue with much of what he wrote and if anything, it was a mild surprise not to see Tomlin a tad lower on the list. 2019 will be a crucial year for him and the Steelers. One without Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown and a defense that needs quite the facelift. The AFC North will be more competitive, Baltimore and Cleveland entering the year with stability instead of stumbling into it mid-year.
It’s the first time since 2016 Tomlin fell outside the top five. Jumping him were the Rams’ Sean McVay, Eagles’ Doug Pederson, and Saints’ Sean Payton. Naturally, Bill Belichick continued his dominance in the top spot after winning his 6th Super Bowl.
Tomlin still finished first among the AFC North coaches, though the Bengals and Browns have new faces running the show. John Harbaugh finished one spot behind Tomlin. Rounding out the bottom was the New York’s Pat Shurmur, who I would argue is the most forgotten head coach in football, with Jon Gruden coming in just one spot ahead. Detroit’s Matt Patricia also received poor marks after a difficult first year stepping out of Belichick’s shadow.