Let’s quickly take a look at Mike’s time in Pittsburgh. Tomlin has been Head Coach since taking over for Bill Cowher in 2007. Some will downplay Tomlin’s early success because they feel he won with “Cowher’s team”.
Others tend to ignore that statement, however, as Tomlin won a Super Bowl in just his second year as head coach. That’s a tall order no matter what team you just took control of. Tomlin’s Steelers also won the AFC North three out of his first four seasons at the helm.
Following a loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars in AFC Wildcard Game in 2017-18, questions about Tomlin’s control over his team started to swarm in. The defense was gashed in the 45-42 loss, and discipline instantly became a concern.
Ironically enough, the Steelers collapse during the regular season last year happened right after beating the Jaguars 20-16 in Week 11. Pittsburgh would lose their next four out of five games, finishing 9-6-1.
Missing out on last year’s playoffs, Le’Veon Bell’s holdout, and Antonio Brown’s drama did not help the disciplinary concerns.
Regardless, Tomlin has the third most wins and fourth best win percentage among active NFL coaches. The Steelers also love consistency at Head Coach. Tomlin being only their third different since 1969.
Looking ahead, what does this new contract extension actually mean for the future of the Pittsburgh Steelers?
Truth be told, it doesn’t change much if anything, which is exactly how Pittsburgh likes it.
The last extension Tomlin signed was two-years. Although technically, this served as a one-year extension due to contract specifics that locked in Tomlin through 2019. This new deal could be looked at as the second consecutive one-year extension issued to Tomlin.
Despite the short extension, team President Art Rooney II has expressed the utmost confidence in Tomlin. “Mike is one of the most successful Head Coaches in the National Football League, and we are confident in his leadership to continue to lead our team as we pursue our goal of winning another championship”, said the President.
Next season will be very telling of the direction of the Pittsburgh Steelers. They will be entering the new campaign with the lowest expectations they have had in a couple of years now. They key for Tomlin keeping his role in Pittsburgh is simple: maintain discipline. That means no wide receivers missing games with playoff implications. No Facebook Live videos in the locker room. None of that.
I do believe this is the right move for Pittsburgh regardless of how next season goes. Tomlin and Ben Roethlisberger have logged 115 wins as a duo, and changing up the head coach now would not serve the aging Big Ben well. Looks like “the standard will be the standard” in Pittsburgh, at least through 2021.