Despite a bitter loss in the 2020 playoffs, Pittsburgh Steelers’ team president Art Rooney II appears unwavering in his support of Mike Tomlin. Speaking with beat reporters Thursday, Rooney said Tomlin, whose contract runs through 2022, is the team’s coach of the future.
Here are Rooney’s comments via this tweet from ESPN’s Brooke Pryor.
Art Rooney II on Mike Tomlin's future with the Steelers (his contract runs through 2021, option in 2022): "Comfortable in saying he’ll be our coach in the future. In terms of the job he did, we didn’t finish the way we’d like."
— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) January 28, 2021
“Comfortable in saying he’ll be our coach of the future,” Rooney said. “In terms of the job he did, we didn’t finish the way we like.”
Despite an 11-0 start, the Steelers faded down the stretch, going 1-4, the first team to ever win their first 11 games and finish with four regular season losses. It ended in being bounced in the first round of the playoffs, an ugly upset loss to the Cleveland Browns. The offense turned the ball over five times and the defense failed to get a stop in the second half as the offense rallied back.
As we wrote immediately following the loss, it marked the end of a disappointing decade. Since their last Super Bowl appearance, the Steelers have made the playoffs just six times, winning three playoff games, failing to return to the Big Game, and only making one AFC Title appearance. That was in 2016 when they got blown out by the New England Patriots. Pittsburgh’s been one of the league’s most talented teams but have little to show for it. 2020 was supposed to be the team’s last best chance to make a serious Super Bowl run and they fell well short of that goal.
Still, the Rooney’s and Steelers are models of stability so it’s no surprise to hear Rooney publicly support Tomlin. In a time where the organization is about to usher in a new era, one without the likes of Ben Roethlisberger, Maurkice Pouncey, and GM Kevin Colbert (all potentially/likely gone after 2021), it’s unlikely the team will be quick to move on from Tomlin. Whether that’s the right idea is up for debate.