The best NFL franchises have consistency. Since 1969, only three men have been head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers:
Chuck Noll, Bill Cowher, and Mike Tomlin.
Tomlin is the latest addition to Steelers coaching history, and has done well in his first decade in Pittsburgh. Now 44 years old, Tomlin has never finished below .500 as an NFL head coach, and has two Super Bowl appearances to his name.
Tomlin was hired when he was 34 years old, and was an instant success. In only his second season, he became the youngest head coach to appear in and win a Super Bowl (36 years, 323 days). He went back to the title game two years later, but hasn’t returned to the game’s highest point since the 2010 season.
Tomlin started his NFL coaching career in 2001, when he became a defensive backs coach in Tampa Bay. With legends like Ronde Barber in the defensive backfield, the Bucs defense was stout. In the team’s Super Bowl XXXVII win, his defensive backs returned three interceptions for touchdowns.
In the NFL, everyone is obsessed with coaching trees. Tomlin is undoubtedly from the Tony Dungy coaching tree, as Dungy ran the Buccaneers from 1996-2001. Tomlin joined Dungy for his final season in Tampa, then stayed on, learning under defensive legend Monte Kiffin.
He stayed in Tampa until 2006, when he left to become the defensive coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings. The team went 6-10, but to Tomlin’s credit, the defense played above expectations. The following season, with only one year as a coordinator on his resume, he became the 16th head coach in Steelers franchise history. He became the 10th African-American head coach in NFL history, and the first in Steelers franchise history.