Mike Tomlin is returning ins 2021 to serve his 15th season as head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers, and he is doing so with his fifth different man at offensive coordinator in Matt Canada. Originally hired in just 2019 as quarterbacks coach, he received the internal promotion after one season as the team opted to move on from Randy Fichtner.
Canada was not unknown by any means to Tomlin and the Steelers, as he previously spent time at Pitt, with whom they share a facility, and he has also coached a number of the players who are or have been in the locker room, including the majority of their running back room.
There’s no doubt that the bond shared between Canada and Tomlin, especially as it developed working together through the 2019 season, was a key part in the promotion, and one gets the sense that the hope is this is a long-term arrangement. That appears to be where Canada is as well, as he shared his thoughts on Tomlin in a recent video project through the team’s website.
It’s pretty well known what a leader of men he is, the motivator he is, and all of those different things. But I just personally, selfishly, I just love talking football with Coach. We don’t really have other hobbies, so we focus on our families and we focus on football, and that’s kind of how it goes. I’m very, very humbled to be on his staff and the way he does things. It’s the first time in a very long time I’ve had that feeling where like it was with Coach Mallory, that you do things right, the respect and the love for football that Coach Tomlin has, it’s great to be a small part of his team.
It’s not uncommon for an assistant coach to praise his head coach, naturally, especially one who has just received a promotion, but these are all themes common to the remarks that we have heard from those who have worked with Tomlin over the years.
He is certainly a football junkie and a family man. He is a coach his players tend to love. I certainly can’t recall any former coaches having anything negative to say about his working experience with him.
Of course, being good to work for does not in itself produce results. While the Steelers usually manage a winning record, it is been five years since they have last won a post season game, and they only have three wins in the playoffs since 2010. That has to change, this year, and Canada is charged with getting the offense back on the right track.
Mallory, by the way, refers to Bill Mallory. He was the head coach of the Indiana Hoosiers from 1984 to 1996. Canada was a graduate assistant as his first coaching gig in Mallory’s final three seasons. That’s how far back he dug to liken his feelings toward working with Tomlin.