Mike Tomlin was not expected to be a head coach when he was named the head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers back in 2007. In fact, it was an interview via the Rooney Rule that allowed for him to even have that opportunity to interview for the position. It was then that Pittsburgh knew they had found their man and hired Tomlin to lead their team. From there, Tomlin has had the Steelers being competitive pretty much every season. This year, the Steelers were a team that many expected to be in the AFC Championship game versus the New England Patriots. These two were considered the top teams in the AFC. Well, Jacksonville decided they had something to say about that, defeating the Steelers 45-42 in Pittsburgh. Immediately after that win, there were some rumblings that some minority owners wanted Tomlin out. Of course the battle between what is true and what is fake will continue to go on, but this type of talk surrounding Tomlin is not far from the norm. It seems like every season there is talk about him getting fired, even when he has successful seasons like this one was. Of course, the standards are higher in Pittsburgh and a few other select franchises, but eventually this type of talk gets old.
Tomlin has a career record of 116-60 in the regular season, which is a winning percentage of 65.9%. His winning percentage is definitely better than another coach that coached a long time in one place, Jeff Fisher. The difference is that Fisher did not make the playoffs as many times as Tomlin did despite him being with one organization for sixteen years. Add on top of it the fact that Fisher never won a title and only won 54.2% of his games while with Houston/Tennessee. Yet with his sub par regular seasons and virtually non-existent postseason career, he was still around for a long time and was even sought after in regards to another head coaching position (he coached the St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams to nowhere). Or if Fisher is not enough of an example for you, let’s take a look at Cincinnati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis. He started off a little slow, but he has made the playoffs more than enough times to have won a game there. Lewis is sporting a zero in the win column when it comes the playoffs, but he is still coaching away in Cincy. We know those organizations are not the level of Pittsburgh, but the lesson in this one is that no matter what your coaching situation is for your favorite team, it could be worse.
Tomlin has the best winning percentage in the NFL when it comes to current coaches that have coached over three years with an organization. That is definitely something to be proud of, but also what comes along with that is some early exits in the playoffs and times where the fans of the Steelers felt they did not reach their potential. So with that known, it was expected that some changes had to be made. One of them was letting Todd Haley go as the offensive coordinator. When he did not do the quarterback sneak when only needing a yard, that seemingly wrote his ticket out of town. That change had to be made because the Steelers had become more a finesse team in some aspects and that is not what Steelers football is all about. Hopefully the new offensive coordinator will understand that you have a huge quarterback that if only leaning forward can get you one yard, let alone one foot. That change in itself has some Steelers fans rejoicing because they did not like him to begin with. Along with the coordinator change, there just does not seem to be a star on that defense. The Steelers need a stud player to come in and be the player that draws everyone’s attention. That would make their defense even tougher.
Given what he had to work with, Tomlin got a lot out of his playoff team this season. He could have made some better decisions at times in the games this season, but he got them in position to make some things happen each and every year. There is no way that he should be fired at this point in time and to say that he needs to be fired at this time is completely crazy. If he needs to be fired, then there are a ton of other coaches in the NFL that deserve it too.
The General Mike Patton is an up-and-coming writer from Nashville, TN who brings a fresh and non-biased opinion about sports. From his radio experience in Nashville to his time as a sports writer for Free’s World, the website for radio personality and former co-host of BET’s 106 and Park Free (www.freesworld.com), The General is definitely one you want to get to know in the sports world. You can catch his work on SPORTSAWAKENING.COM. Mike grew up rooting for the San Francisco 49ers, Chicago Bulls, and Chicago Cubs and remains a passionate sports fan who expresses intelligent opinions.