Steelers’ Mike Tomlin Not Feeling the Love on ‘Top Head Coaches’ List

Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin wearing a headset

Getty Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin.

Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin has never had a losing season in 13 years coaching the team. He has posted a career record of 133-74-1 and has led the Steelers to two Super Bowl appearances, including a dramatic victory in Super Bowl XLIII, a 27-23 victory over the Arizona Cardinals that still gets Santonio Holmes emotional.

And last year was perhaps his most impressive coaching job to date, as he lost franchise QB Ben Roethlisberger to a season-ending elbow injury in week two, yet still led the Steelers to a .500 record. This in spite of the fact that Pittsburgh played half of last season with Devlin ‘Duck’ Hodges at quarterback, not merely a rookie undrafted free agent, but a rookie UDFA who was signed for just $1,000—that’s right, one-thousand-dollars—after a late-spring tryout.

Sure, Hodges played better than anyone had a right to expect, but his limitations were obvious. And when Hodges wasn’t playing QB, it was second-year man Mason Rudolph, who didn’t perform much better than Hodges, all of which explains why Pittsburgh’s backup quarterback situation remains one of the ‘biggest roster holes’ in the NFL.

Mike Tomlin No. 7 on CBS Sports HQ’s List

All that said, it’s a bit of a surprise that Sean Wagner McGough has Mike Tomlin as low as seventh on his ranking of the Top 10 Coaches for the 2020 Season, immediately behind Kyle Shanahan (San Francisco 49ers) and Sean McVay (Los Angeles Rams).

Bryant McFadden: Mike Tomlin Not in Top 5 is ‘Absurd’

For one, CBS Sports HQ NFL Analyst Bryant McFadden—a former Steelers cornerback who played for Tomlin between 2007-08 and 2010-11—took issue with the low ranking:

“Mike Tomlin not in the top 5 is absurd for me,” McFadden said, highlighting how Tomlin has a better winning percentage than three of the head coaches in the top five, referring to Sean Payton (New Orleans Saints), John Harbaugh (Baltimore Ravens) and the aforementioned Shanahan.

McFadden also points out that Tomlin has won a Super Bowl, which Shanahan has not.

But what McFadden really appreciates is Tomlin’s consistency, noting that “just this past season, guys, he tied the late, great Don Shula for 13 straight seasons without a losing season. That’s impressive. That tells you how consistent he has been.”

Better yet, if Tomlin has a non-losing season this year, he will tie Marty Schottenheimer for the NFL head coach with the longest stretch of non-losing seasons in NFL history. Schottenheimer set that record with the Cleveland Browns and Kansas City Chiefs between 1984 and 1997.

Tomlin’s best regular season record came in 2017, when the Steelers went 13-3. His teams have finished 8-8 three times, in 2012, 2013, and 2019.

He led the Steelers to victory in Super Bowl XLIII in February 2009, but Pittsburgh lost Super Bowl XLV to the Green Bay Packers, 31-25, in February 2011.

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