Mike Tomlin shouldn’t be fired.
But it’s fair to say he should do better.
This conversation was ignited by CBSSports.com ranking the NFL’s Top 10 coaches (and by sports being paralyzed for 112 days). Mike Tomlin was rated seventh, behind Bill Belichick (duh), Andy Reid (just won the Super Bowl) and a bunch of coaches who didn’t miss the playoffs each of the last two seasons.
The discussion was furthered by a poll I posted on Twitter:If every NFL coaching job was open and every NFL coach was available, would Tomlin be among the first 10 coaches hired? Seventy-three percent voted yes.
I’m not so sure that’s true.
Everyone knows about Tomlin’s problems in 2018 and ’19, most notably Le’Veon Bell skipping the former and Ben Roethlisberger missing 14 games of the latter.
But in ‘18, the Steelers started 7-2-1. In ‘19, they were 8-5. The Steelers missed the playoffs both seasons.
An elite coach should have got the Steelers across the line. But it’s hard to pinpoint what Tomlin could have done different. Maybe JuJu Smith-Schuster just needed to not fumble.
Tomlin has never had a losing season. His career winning percentage is .642. He’s coached in two Super Bowls, winning one.
But what has Tomlin done lately?
As noted, the Steelers missed the playoffs the last two seasons. They have just three playoff wins in nine seasons. Their personnel during that time merits better.
If Tomlin misses the playoffs for a third straight season, he won’t get fired. Tomlin will probably never get fired.
But his rep takes a hit. That ranking drops further. And what happens when Roethlisberger retires?
This is a big season for Tomlin.
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