Even after two seasons without a playoff appearance, and three without a playoff victory, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Mike Tomlin continues to command respect around the league for what he has accomplished over his 13 years as head coach and of what he is capable of continuing to do into the future.
He is widely regarded as one of the top 10 head coaches in the NFL, but being one of the top coaches in the NFL and being one of the top coaches that you would look to hire if you were starting a franchise are different questions. Would Tomlin be included on that list? He does for Colin Cowherd, who established the following criteria:
- Age does matter
- Easy to work with
- The less controversy, the better
- Innovative thinker
- Relates to players
Tomlin came 10th out of 10 on his list. Not great, but at least he’s on the list. And this is what he had to say about him:
He’s great with players. He’s still only 48 years old. He’s got the second-most wins since he was hired in the NFL to Bill Belichick. Now, you don’t love what he’s always done in the postseason, but he’s got a couple of Super Bowls [sic], 10-plus wins in eight of his 13 seasons. He dominates his rivals. Owns Cleveland and Cincinnati, and I think Mike Tomlin is built for the future of the NFL. Players like him. And he’s also shown he can deal with drama in a locker room. It blows up a lot of teams. It never blows up Mike Tomlin. Also, he is the best coach at a podium, and there is no second place in league history. So Tomlin makes my list.
In case you’re wondering, this is the remainder of the list, in ascending order nine to one, and as you can see, it includes multiple college head coaches: Urban Meyer, Lincoln Riley, Brian Flores, Matt Nagy, John Harbaugh, Sean McVay, Doug Pederson, Sean McDermott, Kyle Shanahan.
The Steelers hired Tomlin in 2007, and he has remained in that post since then. He is under contract through the 2021 season for the team, including a two-way option for 2022. His team won the Super Bowl in 2008, making Pittsburgh the first franchise with six Lombardi Trophies. They returned in 2010, but lost to the Green Bay Packers. Most recently, they advanced to the AFC Championship Game in 2016 before falling to the New England Patriots.