Though Mike Tomlin is one of the NFL’s longest-tenured head coaches and has been leading the Pittsburgh Steelers since 2007, he still has a fire and intensity when it comes to his job. Always the optimist, he appeared on The Rich Eisen Show Thursday to discuss his future and his excitement over coaching this team from vets to rookies.
“I love working with players and helping them grow individually and collectively,” Tomlin told Eisen. “And so the collection of guys changes every year. They’re at different stages of their career, man. I’m excited about working with Cam Hayward in terms of helping him elongate the end of his career. And I’m excited about working with Broderick [Jones] laying a foundation and get this start of his career out of the station.”
Following Ben Roethlisberger’s retirement after the 2021 season, Mike Tomlin became the sole coach of every single player on the Steelers’ roster for their time in Pittsburgh. It’s a level of longevity few coaches reach and Tomlin has the second-longest unbroken coaching tenure in the league, only trailing New England’s Bill Belichick (there’s also Denver’s Sean Payton but he took the 2022 season off).
Tomlin’s looking to add a second Steelers’ Super Bowl ring on his finger and put a seventh in the franchise’s trophy case. He’s also trying to win a ring for so many players who deserve one. None more than Cam Heyward, who has not enjoyed much playoff success, and there’s also newcomer Patrick Peterson, an eventual Hall of Famer, who has won just one playoff game in his career.
The Steelers are also writing a new chapter, transforming their offense to what it looked like early in Roethlisberger’s career, making the same blueprint for Kenny Pickett. A physical, run-heavy, defensive-driven approach that runs counter to how most teams are built in 2023, pass-happy to win wild shootouts. Pittsburgh’s roster will look radically different in 2023 and they’ll count on a chunk of their rookie class to make immediate contributions.
For Tomlin, the challenge remains all the same. Put together a roster. Lead a team. Survive, advance, and win. But there’s no mistaking how Pittsburgh has fallen short of that goal too often in recent years. No playoffs in 2022, no playoff win since 2016, no Super Bowl appearance since 2010. Winning in the NFL is hard, that should never be taken for granted, and Tomlin’s up for whatever comes next.
“When I get out of my car every day, man, the challenges are many and often everchanging. And I love it all.”