The Pittsburgh Steelers have completely turned their season around. At the bye week, they sat at 2-6 with what looked to be a top-five pick on the horizon. Now, they are 8-8 with a chance at the playoffs. A big reason for that change is the composure and consistency of their head coach, Mike Tomlin.
It would be easy to panic at 2-6 coming off of a 22-point loss at the hands of the Philadelphia Eagles, but Tomlin didn’t which helped his team turn the season around by keeping their composure. Today, rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett met with reporters and was asked if he noticed anything different in his head coach this season, to which Pickett denied noting his consistency week after week.
“Just consistency,” Pickett said in a transcription provided by the Steelers. “Steady. I mean, he’s the same guy. You’re talking about being 2-6, he’s the same guy now that we’re 8-8, and we’re fighting for that playoff spot. His sense of urgency is always there. The passion he has for the game, his energy at six in the morning when he walks in the building is the same every single day, no matter what the record is.”
Being the head coach, Tomlin often sees a lot of criticism come his way, with fans calling for his firing after every loss or failed third down conversion. Despite this, you’ll almost never hear a former or current player say a bad thing about the Steelers’ head coach.
While some may scoff at Tomlin’s non-losing season record, it is certainly impressive. Since becoming a head coach in 2007, Tomlin has never finished with a record worse than .500, and even though at one point it looked like a certainty that the streak would end this year, now it does not. A win against the Cleveland Browns at Acrisure Stadium on Sunday will secure Tomlin his 16th consecutive non-losing season.
Some will point to his lack of playoff success in recent years as to why he should be fired, but in all honesty, Tomlin has dragged some not-very-good Steelers teams to the playoffs the past few seasons. If the Steelers make the playoffs this year, it will be two years in a row they qualify despite having a negative point differential. They currently sit at a point differential of -52. Last year they made the playoffs at -55. The New England Patriots, the sixth seed in the AFC last year had a point differential of +159. In 2020, Pittsburgh had a worse point differential than last year’s Patriots team with a +104 point differential. While that is certainly a good number, you would expect a team that went 11-0 and finished 12-4 to have a higher point differential.
Tomlin always gets the most out of very little and has created a great culture in Pittsburgh. Winning championships is hard, there is a reason the teams in the NFL with the most have only six. Without Tomlin’s consistency and standard, the Steelers could be a bottom dweller in the league.