The offseason is inevitably a period of projection and speculation, which makes it the ideal time to ponder the hypotheticals that the Pittsburgh Steelers will face over the course of the next year, whether it is addressing free agency, the draft, performance on the field, or some more ephemeral topic.
That is what I will look to address in our Buy or Sell series. In each installment, I will introduce a topic statement and weigh some of the arguments for either buying it (meaning that you agree with it or expect it to be true) or selling it (meaning you disagree with it or expect it to be false).
The range of topics will be intentionally wide, from the general to the specific, from the immediate to that in the far future. And as we all tend to have an opinion on just about everything, I invite you to share your own each morning on the topic statement of the day.
Topic Statement: Head Coach Mike Tomlin should received a contract extension this offseason.
Explanation: While he’s not entering the final year of his contract, the Steelers are at the point where they would normally get an extension done with their head coach. Earlier this offseason, President Art Rooney II gave a less than clear answer about whether or not there were plans to do so later in the process.
Yes, absolutely. You’re not just going to stumble upon a better head coaching candidate off the street, most likely. Or do you miss the yearly coaching purge in which between six to 10 head coaches get fired every season, many of them after only one or two years on the job?
The truth of the matter is that there are only so many people who have both the disposition and the capability of successfully navigating the waters of the head coach of a professional football team at the highest level. That entails extensive knowledge of both the game itself and how to handle people. Particularly people whom fame and fortune has touched.
It’s easy enough to simply rattle off Tomlin’s accomplishments. A Super Bowl title. Two title game appearances, and another conference final appearance on top. A number of division titles. He went to the postseason five years in a row, the longest run in franchise history since the mid-90s.
The Steelers are coming out of a turbulent period, to some degree. But this is nothing new to Tomlin. Some of his best coaching performances have been through adversity. Whatever role he might have played in creating current or recently relieved issues, he is also the man to help the team climb past them.
Whether or not he is capable of righting the ship, there isn’t any harm in waiting on it. 2019 isn’t the final year of Tomlin’s contract. It only makes sense to see how he actually handles what comes next, particularly with the loss of Antonio Brown, before making yet another decision to commit to him all over again.
This is an especially crucial time in the franchise with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger nearing the end of his career. If Tomlin can’t get things in order by the end of the season, it’s better to find that out now so open up the possibility of exploring other options without needlessly making a further commitment.
The team has tried to set up aides to help him with his blind spots, such as Teryl Austin being brought in in part to provide assistance to him concerning judgment calls. This season will be telling with regard to how he responds to these new conditions.