Steelers Aiming To Be A ‘World Championship-Caliber Team Each And Every Year,’ Mike Tomlin Says

With the era of “tanking” to improve draft stock in an effort to retool on the fly quickly in today’s professional sports landscape, Pittsburgh Steelers fans are quite lucky to see the black and gold relatively competitive and fighting for a playoff spot each and every season.

Many will attempt to brush off the “no losing seasons” part of head coach Mike Tomlin’s resume, but it’s a rather impressive one overall, and honestly might never be topped. Entering Year 16, Tomlin has no experienced losing in any real fashion over the course of a regular season, impressively including a 2019 season in which Hall of Fame quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was lost for the season just six quarters into the year, forcing the Steelers to turn to Mason Rudolph and Duck Hodges.

Pittsburgh, of course, proceeded to go 8-8 that season and were 8-5 late in the season and right in the thick of a playoff spot. While Tomlin hasn’t quite tasted playoff success recently, his teams simply do not lose very often in the regular season, which allows them to remain in position to reach the playoffs and compete for the ultimate prize of the Lombardi Trophy.

No losing seasons entering his 16th season at the helm of the Steelers, and 18 seasons overall since the last losing season in franchise history is rather remarkable overall for the black and gold. Teams just don’t have runs like that. It’s very impressive, and should be lauded.

Appearing on NFL Network’s Inside Training Camp Wednesday following practice at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Tomlin spoke with hosts Kurt Warner and Scott Hanson and revealed his key to keeping the team competitive each and every season, even when the cards might be stacked against them.

In true Tomlin fashion, it was relatively simple.

“We don’t make the simple complex. We focus on the nail. We don’t try to get too big picture,” Tomlin said to Warner and Hanson on Inside Training Camp, according to video via “I think there’s natural urgency when you maintain that collective focus. I think the players can get behind that. I don’t stand in front of the group and talk about long-term development and the things that we’re trying to build and do, no.

“We’re trying to be a world championship-caliber team each and every year with making decisions with that in mind. And we got all our chips in the middle of the table on 2022,” Tomlin added, according to video via “And I think, when you don’t allow the big picture to cloud your judgment and make discussions gray, I think you position yourselves to remain competitive. And that’s a desire that we have.”

The Steelers don’t really concern themselves with outside noise one way or another. For many on the outside, the 2022 season is expected to be a rocky one for the Steelers without Roethlisberger under center, Stephon Tuitt off to retirement, and JuJu Smith-Schuster now in Kansas City, not to mention a rebuilt offensive line that still has plenty of question marks around it.

That doesn’t concern the Steelers though. They believe they’re a legitimate Super Bowl contender with an elite defense, and should be much improved offensively with a quarterback better suited for second-year coordinator Matt Canada’s system in either Mitch Trubisky, Rudolph or rookie Kenny Pickett, and have a great deal of weapons to work with offensively, including new faces George Pickens and Calvin Austin III.

Having that one-track mind and focusing on one day at a time, one week at a time, rather than worrying about weeks, months or even years into the future has helped the Steelers remain competitive and consistent under Tomlin since he took over in the 2007 season. We’ll see if that approach works again this season. Odds are, it will, especially with the way the Steelers are built and the key leadership in place throughout the organization.

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