Three coaches have been at the helm of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the last 54 years, an accomplishment that no other team in the history of the NFL can lay claim to. In 2022, Mike Tomlin surpassed Bill Cowher as the second longest-tenured coach of the storied franchise. Only New England Patriots‘ Bill Belichick has coached in the league longer than Tomlin. But how much longer will that last?
Cowher, at age 49, rode off into the sunset one season after Pittsburgh’s fifth Super Bowl victory in 2006. If that’s how Tomlin, 50, envisions his exit, it could be a while.
Tomlin’s current contract, which the Steelers inked him to in 2021, expires after the 2024 season. With the expiration on the horizon, the topic of an extension was raised during the Q&A portion of Art Rooney II’s State of the Steelers address.
“I don’t like to speculate on our coach’s contract. So, we will see,” said the Steelers owner and president on January 26.
Not exactly a vote of confidence.
Despite the uncertainty from Rooney’s statement, expect news of an extension to come this offseason.
Factors That Could Play Into a Mike Tomlin Contract Extension with Steelers
Under Mike Tomlin, the Pittsburgh Steelers are 163-92-2 (258 games). They’ve won eight playoff games and lost nine, with one championship. The bottom line — as Tomlin detractors have been vocal about — the Steelers have been barely treading water in four of the last five seasons and have had no postseason wins since 2016.
Could those factors come into play while Art Rooney II ponders a contract extension for Mike Tomlin?
CBS Sports’ Aditi Kinkhabwala says no.
“First of all, the question has to be, do you think Art Rooney has actually really viewed [lack of results] through the prism of massive disappointment,” Kinkhabwala asked on 93.7 The Fan’s PM Team. “I think the way that you heard him talk about Matt Canada sitting here and saying, Oh, well, in the second half of the season, there was improvement.
“I think [the Steelers] would have to be five and 12 in back-to-back years for Art to start thinking that maybe something was going horribly wrong,” PM Team co-host Chris Mueller added.
“I don’t think this is a prism of what he’s seeing, that he thinks that Mike Tomlin needs to be on quote-unquote notice,” said Kinkhabwala.
Coaches like Mike Tomlin are a rare commodity. For every Tomlin, Belichick, Andy Reid and Doug Peterson, there are (insert 99 percent of Cleveland Browns head coaches), Gus Bradley, Josh McDaniels and Urban Meyer. For as long as the Rooney family sticks to their head coaches, Steelers fans should be grateful it’s Mike Tomlin and one of them.
Anniversary of Mike Tomlin’s First Super Bowl with Steelers
The Pittsburgh Steelers got one for the other thumb two years removed from Bill Cowher’s retirement. Nearing 37, Mike Tomlin became the youngest coach in NFL history to win a Super Bowl (a record that now belongs to L.A. Rams‘ Sean McVay) after defeating the Arizona Cardinals in the 2009 Super Bowl. The 14th anniversary of Pittsburgh’s last championship victory was on February 1.
Tomlin’s speech on the winner’s stage was something he would repeat today. “Steelers football is 60 minutes. It’s never going to be pretty. Throw style points out the window, but these guys will fight to the end, and I take my hat off to you, and I congratulate every last one of you.”