Pittsburgh Steelers team owner and President Art Rooney II was non-committal publicly with reporters during his recent State of the Steelers address last week regarding a contract extension for head coach Mike Tomlin, but according to Post-Gazette Steelers insider Gerry Dulac, an extension could be coming soon for the longtime head coach, just based on recent history.
Though Rooney said he doesn’t like to speculate on contracts with the press, he was effusive in his praise of Tomlin during his media rounds last week.
“I don’t like to speculate on our coach’s contract. So, we will see,” Rooney said to media members during his press conference last week, according to audio via 93.7 The Fan.
Rooney later followed up with strong comments in support of Tomlin in a one-on-one interview with Bob Pompeani for Steelers.com that same day.
“I don’t really evaluate Mike on anything other than I’m glad he’s our coach,” Rooney said, according to video via Steelers.com. “Hopefully he’ll be our coach into the future. He gives us a chance to win, year in and year out, and put us in a position where we have a chance to compete for a championship.”
With two years remaining on his current contract, Tomlin is in line for another extension from the Steelers based on how they like to do business, which would keep him with the Steelers through the 2026 season, putting him at the helm for 20 seasons to that point.
On Tuesday, Dulac got out in front of the expected extension, stating in an article for the Post-Gazette that he believes Tomlin’s extension is coming soon. Currently, coaches and front office personnel are traveling around the country for the East-West Shrine Bowl in Las Vegas and the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama.
Previously, Tomlin signed a three-year extension in April 2021, just months after the Steelers lost to the Cleveland Browns in the AFC Wild Card round after winning the AFC North. That three-year extension was a bit out of the norm, considering the Steelers like to do a one-year extension plus an option with coaches.
While the Steelers have struggled in recent seasons, going 18-16-1, losing to the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Wild Card round after the 2021 season and missing the playoffs this past season, Dulac stated that it’s not even a “fleeting thought” that they’d make a coaching change.
The decision to extend Tomlin again despite the lack of playoff success in the last decade or so will undoubtedly anger portions of the fanbase that are ready for a change, but the extension will not be surprising whatsoever. The Steelers believe in stability, and that’s what Tomlin provides them at the helm.
After Rooney lauded the Steelers’ second-half surge under Tomlin, going 7-2 down the stretch to finish 9-8 and show real promise for the future ahead, an extension is all but a formality at this point for the future Hall of Fame head coach.