Thursday, May 26, 2022

Steelers’ Mike Tomlin leads active NFL head coaches in significant category, including Bill Belichick

Mike Tomlin received a roaring ovation during the Penguins’ Game 3 win over the New York Rangers in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, and for good reason. Very few coaches have enjoyed the long-term success that Tomlin has as he prepares for his 16th season as Steelers head coach. 

Tomlin, 50, is the only head coach in NFL history to begin his career with 15 consecutive seasons without a losing record. The Steelers’ ability to consistently hold their own against some of the league’s other premier teams is one of the reasons for their success under Tomlin. Tomlin enters the 2022 campaign with the highest winning percentage among active coaches who have coached at least 10 seasons against teams that have finished the season with a winning record. The Patriots‘ Bill Belichick is the only other coach that is close to the .500 mark. 

Mike Tomlin

.510

52-50

Bill Belichick 

.497

95-96

Andy Reid 

.452

70-85

Pete Carroll 

.417

50-70

Mike McCarthy 

.396

42-63-1

John Harbaugh 

.388

40-63

Ron Rivera

.321

26-54-1

Lovie Smith

.304

21-48

Courtesy of Ryan Scarpino

Under Tomlin, the Steelers have won one Super Bowl, two AFC titles, and seven AFC North division crowns. Pittsburgh has clinched 10 playoff berths under Tomlin that include last season’s surprising berth following a 1-3 start. During the 2021 season, Tomlin became the 21st — and fourth-fastest — coach in NFL history to reach 150 career victories. 

“I’m just appreciative of the standards that’s been set by those that have come before me,” Tomlin said after reaching 150 career wins. “All of us are here. That standard is inspirational for us. It inspires us, it challenges us. I’m just thankful to be a part of this thing that is the Pittsburgh Steelers. I do my job to uphold the standard.” 

While Tomlin is still writing chapters to his coaching career, former Steelers cornerback and CBS Sports football analyst Bryant McFadden feels that Tomlin has already done enough to one day join former Steelers coaches Chuck Noll and Bill Cowher in Canton, Ohio. 

“He’s there right now. If he decided to end his coaching career this season, he’s a Hall of Famer,” said McFadden, who played under both Cowher and Tomlin and was a member of two Super Bowl-winning teams with the Steelers. “From 2007 to the present, he’s never had a losing season, that speaks volume on his consistency. Winning AFC Championship ball games. Getting to the Super Bowl, winning a Super Bowl. 

“When you’ve won a conference championship game, you’ve been in the playoffs a lot, and your team has always been relevant in competitive conversations, that speaks volumes. To me personally, if he was to end his coaching career this season, yeah, he’s already a Hall of Famer. Certified.” 

While a future spot in Canton likely awaits him, Tomlin is solely focused on the 2022 Steelers. For the first time, Tomlin will oversee a quarterback position battle this summer between rookie Kenny Pickett, former Pro Bowler Mitchell Trubisky and veteran Mason Rudolph

“I expect it to be fierce, because I know all three guys,”  Tomlin recently said on The Rich Eisen Show. “I don’t expect anyone to take a back seat. The challenge is from a structure standpoint. Are we providing enough of a platform for all the guys to show what they’re capable of? That’s going to be the challenge component of it. 

“I’m excited about watching these guys compete, just like I am at any position where you’ve got viable options. We’ll proceed with that understanding that it’s going to be challenging from an organization standpoint, but it’s a good challenge, and I’m excited about watching those guys perform.”

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