NFL Network’s Rich Eisen hyped the Pittsburgh Steelers when talking about the league’s top teams going into next season who didn’t make the playoffs in 2022. But Eisen didn’t do that without criticizing the Steelers fan base.
First, Eisen called any Steelers fan who wants to move on from head coach Mike Tomlin, “dumb.” He doubled down on that opinion while ranking the Steelers the No. 2 non-playoff team going into 2023.
“Look Steeler fans, I know you’ve been retorting to me when I said that anybody who thinks that Mike Tomlin should finally be having his time up in Pittsburgh is dumb,” Eisen said on his show, The Rich Eisen Show, on January 10. “I might’ve chosen a better word, but you’re still dumb,”
Eisen only ranked the Detroit Lions ahead of the Steelers among his top non-playoff teams going into next season.
Eisen Defends Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin
The NFL Network anchor and personality has made it clear over the years that he’s a big fan of the Steelers head coach. It’s hard not to be with Tomlin owning a .636 winning percentage, seven division crowns, two AFC Championships and a Super Bowl title.
Tomlin’s last postseason victory, though, came in 2016. Since then, he has lost twice in the playoffs at home. Those defeats weren’t against generational quarterbacks but rather Blake Bortles and Baker Mayfield.
The six-year playoff-win drought for Tomlin is a point of criticism for a lot of Steelers fans.
Eisen didn’t acknowledge the recent home playoff losses specifically but discussed Tomlin’s playoff-win drought.
“I know that I got a lot of push back. ‘Well, Rich just look at how few playoff wins the man has had in recent years, and it’s been forever since they won a championship. And the Steelers, we’re about winning playoff games and championships,'” Eisen said. “Of course, everybody is about that.
“But sometimes circumstances require the coach to take you to a certain spot and this year, the certain spot was to take a young team that needed to learn how to win.”
Eisen didn’t use the word “rebuilding,” but it’s difficult to classify the Steelers’ 2022 season as anything except that. That was especially true once rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett became the starter.
Yet still, the Steelers posted a winning record and had a chance to make the postseason in Week 18.
“They went from 2-6 to 9-8, he still doesn’t have a losing record in a season,” said Eisen.
Tomlin’s Steelers also started 2-6, including 0-4, in 2013. They finished 8-8 that season.
Tomlin owns a 163-93-2 regular season record. He is also 8-9 in the postseason.
Over the last five years, the Steelers are 47-33-2 under Tomlin, which is good enough for a .585 win percentage.
Eisen Hypes Steelers Going into 2023 Season
Before going into a bit of a rant defending Tomlin to Pittsburgh fans, Eisen ranked the Steelers second among his top non-playoff teams going into 2023.
Tomlin was just one of the reasons why Eisen likes the Steelers next season.
“No. 2 on this list is a team that drafted a rookie quarterback, played their rookie quarterback, and has shown that this guy has got ‘It,'” Eisen said. “And man, does he have a connection with a wide receiver who’s coach told me and the rest of the NFL Network crew calling his game, get your camera ready and we had.
“And Najee Harris is terrific, and they’ve got playmakers on defense and a coach.”
As Eisen argued, there’s a lot of reasons to be excited about the Steelers in 2023. He’s also not the only one looking forward to seeing what’s next for Tomlin’s team.