One of the biggest headlines for the Pittsburgh Steelers this season is head coach Mike Tomlin’s record of having no losing seasons being at jeopardy. Tomlin, who started his head coaching career in 2007, has not had a losing season in 15 seasons. Sitting at 7-8, the team has to win out to ensure a 9-8 record and continue the streak. When asked about the streak during a Thursday press conference on Steelers.com, the team’s veteran All-Pro defensive end ensured they are taking it one game at a time.
“It’s a streak you look at after the season,” Heyward said when asked about Tomlin’s streak. “We’re trying to win every game game. And Coach T[omlin] has produced a lot of good teams. Obviously, you don’t wanna be the first team to do that, but our goals are just trying to win one game at a time.”
Several Steelers have voiced their desire to keep Tomlin’s streak going. This includes tight end Zach Gentry, who said that it is his selfish desire to keep the streak going. The streak is undeniably on the back of most of the team’s head, and certainly won’t make them any less motivated to put it all out on the field regardless of what’s at stake.
Not having a losing season in 15 years is impressive. It’s a feat that Tomlin is the first to accomplish, as Tomlin broke Marty Schottenheimer’s 14-year streak last season. Granted, Tomlin had the luxury of Super Bowl-caliber rosters in his first several seasons, and the play of a likely Hall Of Fame quarterback in Ben Roethlisberger up until last season. However, he still remained competitive in seasons with many injuries, including the 2019 season, where he rotated Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges at the quarterback position.
As impressive as the winning streak is, it is also important to point out the team’s lack of playoff success. The Steelers have gotten blown out in their last three playoff outings, and have not won a playoff game since the 2016-17 season. This is not to say that Tomlin’s streak is meaningless. That said, being consistently competitive in the regular season only means so much when not complemented by playoff success.
Pending a few games, the Steelers will have something to play for in their coming game against the Baltimore Ravens. Though their playoff chances are currently at 3% according to Fivethirtyeight, crazier things have happened. Regardless, as Heyward said, the team is taking it one game at a time. With two games left against two AFC North Rivals in the Ravens and Cleveland Browns, the team has an opportunity to extend Tomlin’s streak.