Mike Tomlin has been the head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers since the 2007 season. According to one former NFL quarterback, Tomlin could be in the mix for a prestigious college head coaching job.
According to Carson Palmer — a USC Trojans alum — Tomlin could be a candidate for the USC head coaching opening. During an appearance on “The Dan Patrick Show” on Monday, October 26, the former 15-year NFL veteran explains why the long-time Steelers coach could be a candidate for the Trojans.
“I’ve been as involved as they’ll let me be… there’s a lot of frontrunners right now,” Palmer said. “You’ve got a wildcard like Mike Tomlin. If Mike Tomlin wants out… at the end of the day there’s not a ‘that’s the guy everybody’s pointing their fingers at.’”
Palmer made sure to downplay the Tomlin rumors, claiming that “everyone” is a candidate for the job. But he goes into further detail of why it would make sense for Tomlin to leave a cushy NFL job such as the Steelers.
“I’m sure he has,” Palmer said. “I think anybody is a potential candidate right now, and that’s what’s so great about the job: It can lure an NFL guy that is tired of their current situation and worried about, is Ben Roethlisberger gone, is he done, who are we going to draft? Does Mike Tomlin have to start over with a first-round, young rookie quarterback? Everybody’s on the table being that that job is so big and so coveted. I think there’s a bunch of people that are in the discussion, and once we get to Week 16, 17 of the NFL season and the college football season is over, we’ll have a direct frontrunner.”
Tomlin Signed With Steelers Through 2024
It’s worth noting that Tomlin signed a contract extension with Pittsburgh through the 2024 season during the offseason.
“I am extremely grateful for this contract extension and want to thank Art Rooney II and everyone in the organization for the support in my first 14 seasons,” Tomlin said back in April. “We have a goal of winning the organization’s seventh Super Bowl championship, and I couldn’t be more enthusiastic about this upcoming season.”
In 14 full seasons as the Steelers’ head coach, Tomlin has never suffered a losing season. During his tenure, he’s led Pittsburgh to two Super Bowl appearances, with one resulting in victory.
AFC North Competition Could Entice Tomlin to Leave Steelers
However, it’s clear that the tide is turning in the AFC North division.
After winning the division title during the 2020 season following an 11-0 start, it looks like the Steelers could be the worst team in the division in 2021. At 3-3, the Steelers are relying on a 39-year-old Ben Roethlisberger who is clearly declining towards the end of his career.
The Steelers have to contend with rivals led by young quarterbacks such as the Cincinnati Bengals’ Joe Burrow, the Baltimore Ravens’ Lamar Jackson and the Cleveland Browns‘ Baker Mayfield.
Neither of those quarterbacks are over the age of 26.
Although the job security is certainly there in Pittsburgh — the franchise has had just three head coaches since 1969 — the success may not be there moving forward, especially when considering the competition.
While the Trojans haven’t won a National Championship in 17 years, they’re one of the most storied programs in college football history. In fact, it was as recent as 2016 that they finished in the top five in the Coaches and AP Polls.
This may just simply be Palmer trying to sell Tomlin — or other big-name coaches — on the idea of playing for his alma mater.
But Palmer’s argument for why Tomlin could leave the Steelers after this season does make sense.
At the end of the 2021 season, we’ll see what direction the Steelers — and Tomlin — head into with Roethlisberger’s retirement a realistic possibility in the offseason.