13 games into the 2019 season, the Pittsburgh Steelers were sitting at an improbable 8-5 after starting off the season with a 1-4 record in the first five weeks, rattling off a 7-1 record in the middle of the year. Head coach Mike Tomlin’s name was being bandied about as a strong contender for head coach of the year, a distinction not earned by a Steelers head coach (at least for the Associated Press) since Bill Cowher’s first year in 1992.
Then Devlin Hodges laid an egg, not typically something you would expect from a Duck by stereotype, though they do, of course, lay eggs. Sometimes three in a row, as the rookie out of Samford did in the final three weeks of the 2019 season, causing the Steelers to miss the postseason.
It seems as though much of the wind in the sails driving the push for Tomlin as a top head coach has died down, as he is merely in the middle of the pack in terms of the most recent betting lines for the favorites to win the coach of the year award for 2020.
According to BetOnline, the Steelers’ head coach has his odds at +2800 to win, the same as Mike Zimmer and Pete Carroll, but a longer shot than 14 other head coaches. Bill Belichick, who just lost Tom Brady, is at the top of the list, tied with Bruce Arians, and for some reason with Mike McCarthy shortly behind them, followed by Andy Reid. A glut of Frank Reich, Andy Reid, Kevin Stefanski, Cliff Kingsbury, and Sean McDermott round out the top eight names, and for the sake of OCD, Kyle Shanahan and Mike Vrabel are 9 and 10.
Ironically, one of the things that has held Tomlin’s reputation as a great coach back is the fact that he has pretty consistently been granted that he’s put together talented rosters. The bulk of the 2010s was dominated by offensive talent led by the Killer Bs, but we appear to be turning toward another defensive era as of 2019.
With Ben Roethlisberger returning for 2020, many are expecting the Steelers to do well, so if they do succeed, Tomlin won’t get a whole lot of credit for it, provided that it doesn’t come amid unreasonable adversity.
Of course, at the end of the day, the head coach of the year award doesn’t mean anything. Lombardi Trophies do. That’s the award he tries to win every year, and he will be the first to tell you that he has come up short as a head coach 12 times, because he’s only lifted the trophy once in his 13 seasons.
— Steelers Depot 🏆👑 (@Steelersdepot) May 26, 2020