Winning streaks are not exactly new for the Pittsburgh Steelers. As recently as 2018, they won six consecutive games. The year before that, they won eight games in a row (and it frankly should have been 11). Mike Tomlin had his team finish the 2016 season on a seven-game winning streak.
In other words, even though the Steelers haven’t started a season better than 3-0 in several decades before this year, it shouldn’t at all be surprising to see it happen. This is a well-coached team that is more than capable of stringing wins together. Even last year without Ben Roethlisberger, they had a streak in which they won seven out of eight games.
And if you ask his players, there is one clear answer about who deserves the credit for this 7-0 start, in a year in which the schedule certainly makes it seem as though they have a good chance of going at least 10-0. Minkah Fitzpatrick talked about Tomlin’s importance to the Steelers’ winning streak, earlier today.
“He’s our head coach, so he deserves all the credit in the world for our starting off 7-0”, he told reporters. “He’s a guy that pays attention to all the details, who’s gonna voice his opinion on the things that he sees. He’s transparent, which is something I love about him. He’s gonna keep it real, keep it honest with you. If anyone deserves a big portion of the credit, it’s Coach T for sure”.
And lest we forget, this is a season in which he has had his schedule adjusted out from underneath his feet. The Steelers only had essentially half of a bye week while preparing for the Tennessee Titans to suddenly be preparing for the Philadelphia Eagles. And then the Baltimore Ravens had their bye week moved to the week ahead of facing Pittsburgh this past Sunday.
And that also meant that the Steelers would not have a bye at all in the final 13 games. That takes an adjustment to how to run practices and manage players’ health and conditioning, which a lot of players have already discussed this week, and Fitzpatrick added onto that as well.
“It means a lot to have a coach that’s looking out for his players, because there’s not a lot of coaches across the league that are doing that”, he said. “I’m a younger guy, so I’m feeling alright right now, but there are some guys that are beat up, nicked up, that need those days, and literally one day of rest can do a lot for you, so we appreciate it. We definitely are fortunate and grateful to have a coach like Coach T”.
I think it’s fair to say that Tomlin has very much found the locker room since whatever the last time is those on the outside have claimed that he lost it. This is a motivated team that is playing for each other and playing for their head coach, and they’re finding ways to win regardless of circumstance. That doesn’t happen without a steady presence from up top.