Mike Tomlin is not without fault as a professional head coach in the NFL, but the reality is that that merely serves to highlight the fact that that is true of everybody. The Pittsburgh Steelers head coach has been about as successful as anybody else in the league since he has been here, and his latest accomplishment was the tie the record for the most non-losing seasons to start a career.
His 14 consecutive seasons of 8-8 or better (up to 13-3) also helped propel quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to a record as well. With Sunday’s win, which secured the Steelers their eighth victory in 2020, he is said to have become the first player in NFL history to have 17 non-losing seasons while having never been a part of a losing team, according to Aditi Kinkhabwala.
In this aspect, he surpassed former center Frank Winters, who spent the bulk of his career with the Green Bay Packers from 1992 to 2002, but also previously played with the Cleveland Browns, the New York Giants, and the Kansas City Chiefs. He played 16 seasons in total and was never part of a losing team.
Former Cleveland Browns guard Gene Hickerson spent 15 years there without ever being a part of a losing team from 1958 through 1973, which was part of a 17-year stretch for the franchise in which they never had a losing season, among the longest in NFL history (the Steelers just tied them with their 17th, of course).
And then there’s James Harrison. He played 15 seasons as well, even spent a year with the Cincinnati Bengals, and still was never part of a losing team. It just so happened that he was not on the Steelers in 2003 when they did have a losing season and allowed them to draft Roethlisberger in the first place. He was actually with the Rhein Fire in NFL Europe.
You may be thinking—how is it possible that Tom Brady is not on this list? You would be forgetting the fact that Brady barely played as a rookie back in 2000, and the New England Patriots went 5-11 that season in Bill Belichick’s first season there. Of course, they went 11-5 the next year and won the Super Bowl and a dynasty was born.
Unlike Roethlisberger, however, Brady has never personally posted a losing record during a season. The Steelers quarterback had technically had two losing seasons. He went 0-2 as the starter of record in 2019 before missing the remainder of the season due to injury. Back in 2006, he went 7-8. Charlie Batch started and won the season opener.
With the #Steelers 8-0, QB Ben Roethlisberger is guaranteed to be on a .500 or better team every year of his career (thus far). His 17 seasons w/out a losing season are the most in #NFL history.
(C Frank Winters had 16, G Gene Hickerson and LB James Harrison had 15.)
— Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) November 9, 2020