It’s that time of year where the NFL coaching carousel spins madly, and, eventually, a few will get thrown off. Naturally, head coaches of teams with subpar records are the first to be put under the microscope near the season’s end.
The Steelers are a blue-collar franchise firmly built on tradition, stability and patience. As long as they’re winning — even if it’s not in convincing fashion — they’re satisfied. Providing the Steelers are at or above .500 at the season’s end, Tomlin need not be concerned about job security in Pittsburgh.
It’ll be the first time in Tomlin’s tenure if the Steelers close the season below that mark (per Pro Football Reference). It certainly wouldn’t warrant getting canned, especially in the eyes of the organization’s head honcho, Steelers owner and president Art Rooney II.
The same family has owned the franchise — the Rooneys — since the Steelers came on the football scene in 1933, and the last time they fired a head coach was Bill Austin in 1968. Since then, only three men have presided over the storied Pittsburgh Steelers — Chuck Noll, Bill Cowher, and Tomlin. Each had up and down seasons and, while they had their detractors during the hard times, their jobs were never not secure.
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How Hot is Tomlin’s Coaching Seat?
In ESPN’s recent power rankings: coaching edition, Steelers insider Brooke Pryor offered insight into the temperature of Tomlin’s coaching seat, which has gone largely unchanged during his 15-year tenure in Pittsburgh.
A changing of the guard is coming in Pittsburgh, but Tomlin is staying put. Ben Roethlisberger will likely be making his exit after 18 campaigns at the conclusion of this season, and general manager Kevin Colbert could follow suit if he opts not to pick up another season on his year-to-year deal. But Tomlin signed a three-year extension in April. Though inconsistent at times, the Steelers are 7-6-1 and still in contention to win the AFC North with three weeks left — and that is a testament to Tomlin’s coaching ability. His messaging hasn’t always gotten through to his team before the game, but something is happening at halftime that has helped Pittsburgh to second-half surges. That something is Mike Tomlin. His coaching seat is cold.
Pryor wrote her blurb before the December 26 disaster against the Chiefs in windy Kansas City, and there was no second-half surge, but the song remains the same. Tomlin is staying put. The Steelers are not firing Tomlin.
The Fans Have Spoken!
In a poll of Steelers Twitter, 65 percent of fans said they don’t think the Steelers should move on from Mike Tomlin.
One fan feels the reason the team is the worst they’ve been in decades (in 2003, they were 6-10) is due to Tomlin’s supporting cast.
On December 27, one supporting cast member was relieved of his duties, per Steelers director of communications, Burt Lauten. Offensive line coordinator Adrian Klemm offered and accepted a similar position at the University of Oregon last week. Initially, Klemm was going to finish out the NFL season, but why wait?
Klemm’s dismissal could be just the tip of the iceberg of coordinator changes to come in Pittsburgh.