Mike Tomlin ‘Should Be’ on the Hot Seat: Steelers Insider

Mike Tomlin

Dylan Buell/Getty Images Head coach Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers reacts from the sideline on November 28, 2021.

In April 2021, Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin signed a three-year extension that binds him to the team through the 2024 season. So it’s highly unlikely that Tomlin will be fired anytime soon. Nevertheless, longtime Steelers insider Gerry Dulac believes that Tomlin “should be” on the hot seat. He indicated as much in his June 23 chat for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, during which he was asked whether Tomlin’s seat “should be at least lukewarm by now”?

“After the past three playoff performances, it should be,” responded Dulac.

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Pittsburgh Has Allowed 135 Points in Its Last 3 Postseason Games

Dulac refers to the fact that the Steelers have allowed more than 40 points in each of their last three playoff appearances — all losses — with two of those three games played at Heinz Field.

On January 16, 2022, the Steelers were blown out by Kansas City in a Wild Card game, 42-21, allowing Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes to throw for 406 yards in the process.

Worse yet, on January 10, 2021, the Steelers were vanquished by the Cleveland Browns, 48-37, in a contest that was eerily reminiscent of Dan Marino’s last game. It was the kind of performance that gets a coach fired, as the Browns scored a defensive touchdown on Pittsburgh’s first play from scrimmage and proceeded to race out to an insurmountable 28-0 first-quarter lead.

Finally, on January 14, 2018, a 13-3 Steelers team lost in the divisional round to the Blake Bortles-led Jacksonville Jaguars, 45-42, after falling behind 21-0 in the second quarter.

That said, the Steelers haven’t won a playoff game since January 2017, when Mike Tomlin’s charges won two postseason contests before bowing to the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship.

Mike Tomlin Has a Hall of Fame Résumé

Of course, Mike Tomlin supporters have a strong argument that Tomlin, 50, should remain the team’s head coach for the forseeable future.

In 15 seasons he has a .643 winning percentage, having posted a record of 154-85-2, per Pro Football Reference. Most notably, he has never experienced a losing season, and he has taken the Steelers to two Super Bowls, defeating the Arizona Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII and losing Super Bowl XLV to the Green Bay Packers en route to an 8-9 postseason mark.

In fact, his career record is remarkably similar to the one produced by his predecessor, Bill Cowher, who was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2020. Specifically, Cowher authored a .623 winning percentage across 15 seasons, and won 12 of 21 postseason game along the way to winning 1 of 2 Super Bowls.

Nevertheless, Tomlin isn’t necessarily perceived to be among the very best coaches in the NFL. Just last week, Conor McQuiston of Pro Football Focus ranked Tomlin 13th among 26 veteran NFL head coaches. And in June 2021, Cody Benjamin of CBS Sports ranked him as the tenth-best coach in the NFL.

Rankings like that help explain why Mike Florio labeled Tomlin the “most disrespected” figure in the league during an August 2020 Pro Football Talk segment.

The most important opinion, however, is that of Steelers ownership, which has spoken with its wallet. Last November, Sportico revealed that Tomlin was the fifth-highest paid head coach in the league, behind the likes of Bill Belichick and Andy Reid.

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