Steelers’ Mike Tomlin: Salary, Rank Among Coaches Revealed by New Report

Mike Tomlin

Joe Sargent/Getty Images Head coach Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on October 17, 2021.

On October 26, 2021, Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin got demonstrably angry when asked about rumors connecting him to several high-profile college head coaching jobs.

“I’ve got one of the best jobs in all of professional sports. Why would I have any interest in coaching college football?” he said, getting increasingly animated.

According to a new report by Sportico, a digital content company that covers sports industry news, Tomlin is also one of the most richly compensated coaches in all of sports, not just the NFL. Sportico ranks him as the fifth-highest paid coach in the NFL, with a salary of $11.5 million per year. He’s also tied for fifth-highest paid coach overall, equal to the best compensated head coach in the NBA, that being Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs.

Considering that Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban is below him in terms of annual salary at $10.7 million per year, Tomlin was maybe not being hyperbolic when he concluded his remarks about college head coaching rumors by saying, “There’s not a booster with a big enough blank check” to bring him into the college ranks.

After all, Saban is the most richly compensated coach in college football, ahead of Jimbo Fischer of Texas A&M by $1.2 million per year. Saban is also, by far, the most accomplished college head coach, having won four national titles in the past seven years and five overall, per his Crimson Tide bio.

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As for the four NFL head coaches who earn more than Tomlin, those would be: Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots, who earns $18 million per year, followed by Pete Carroll (Seattle Seahawks) and Sean Payton (New Orleans Saints), who each earn $14 million per annum. At No. 4 is Andy Reid of the Kansas City Chiefs, who receives an annual salary of $12 million.


Mike Tomlin and Bill Cowher: Coaching Records Compared

Considering Tomlin’s pay grade, it’s perhaps worth noting that some NFL observers don’t view him as a Top 5 head coach. In June 2021, for example, Cody Benjamin of CBS Sports ranked him as the tenth-best head coach in the league.

Never mind that in 14 seasons Tomlin has never had a team that finished below .500, as per Pro Football Reference. Never mind that his regular-season record (150-81-2) is eerily similar to that of his predecessor, Bill Cowher, who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on August 7, 2021. His postseason record is similar too (8-8 and 1-1 in the Super Bowl), not unlike Cowher, who was 149-90-1 and went 12-9 in the postseason, with a win and a loss in two Super Bowl appearances.

It’s also worth mentioning that Tomlin would likely earn more than he does now if he stopped coaching and moved into the broadcast booth. In June 2021, the executive director of Sunday Night Football, Fred Gaudelli, said he ranks Tomlin as No. 1 on his “potential talent list,” a “transformational” figure who could become the next Tony Romo, if you will.


Mike Tomlin Signed a Contract Extension in April 2021

Yet Tomlin doesn’t figure to leave the Pittsburgh sideline anytime soon. In April he signed a three-year contract extension that binds him to the Steelers through the 2024 season.

Meanwhile, he is relatively well positioned to realize yet another .500 or better season, as the Steelers enter Sunday night’s game at the Los Angeles Chargers with a 5-3-1 record.

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