Provided that you ignore the fact that the Pittsburgh Steelers haven’t won a postseason game since 2016, it is perfectly within the norm for the organization to provide their head coach with an extension that leaves him with four years remaining.
Ordinarily, that occurs two years out in the form of a two-year extension. In this case, he had an option year for 2022 that Pittsburgh torn up and turned into a three-year extension. At the end of the day, it basically works out the same.
And for the Steelers, according to John Clayton, it’s just business as usual. Especially from the perspective of maintaining business as usual when business is changing. As others have written about, he believes that the timing and length of the extension has much to do with the impending future.
“It just makes sense. You have this whole group of players right now, and to have him ready, if there’s going to be a transition, if the team starts to go down a little bit, maybe even after Ben,” he said on 93.7 The Fan earlier this week. “I think it’s a matter of like, ‘Okay, now the bridge is there if Ben’s not gonna be there in a couple years.’”
“So instead of having the coach go in a year and then having Ben Roethlisberger go in a year or two, you just now have everything together, and it’s just so typical Steelers, because the Steelers have always been the organization that has had the fewest coaching changes,” he added. “I think it makes sense, because at some point, there’s gonna be a rebuilding process. And if that’s gonna be the case, he’s gonna be there in charge of the rebuilding process.”
Of course, it remains to be seen just how things play out. But it certainly wouldn’t be shocking if, come 2023, neither quarterback Ben Roethlisberger nor general manager Kevin Colbert are here. Essentially, both are operating on one-year-at-a-time approaches, and in the case of the former, it’s not really up to him.
Tomlin led the Steelers to a 12-4 record and a division title a year ago. But they embarrassed themselves out of the playoffs at the hands of the Cleveland Browns. Cleveland led 28-0 by the end of the first quarter, such a deep hole to dig out of that nobody is surprised that they didn’t.
That was the team’s first playoff appearance since 2017. That year, they went 13-3 and earned a first-round bye. Similar embarrassment in one-and-done fashion occurred, against a flash-in-the-pan Jacksonville Jaguars team who currently hold the first overall pick.
Needless to say, Tomlin’s recent resume could certainly be better, which makes the timing of the extension curious for many. In reality, it’s just business as usual for the Steelers. Whether that’s for the better or the worse will of course be a matter of debate.