Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin All But Assured of Extension

NASHVILLE TN - SEPTEMBER 19: Lawrence Timmons #94 of the Pittsburgh Steelers tackles Chris Johnson #28 of the Tennessee Titans at LP Field on September 19 2010 in Nashville Tennessee. The Steelers won 19-11. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

Post Gazette columnist Ron Cook gives us a bit of Chicken Little in his recent piece regarding Steelers coach Mike Tomlin's contract situation.

Per Steelers.com, Tomlin is signed through this season with a club option for 2013.

Loosely translated, the "club option" means the team can remove Tomlin after this season if they choose. Cook's point is mostly to point out what a shame it would be if the Steelers let Tomlin go.

It's also exactly why the San Diego Padres have a better chance of winning next year's Stanley Cup than Tomlin moving on next season.

Cook points out it's likely Tomlin will get an extension around training camp, likely without his own personal announcement via Twitter or Facebook or whatever relevant social media outlet he enjoys (if any). The correlation between Tomlin and former Steelers coach Bill Cowher will probably never fully go away, and the fact Cowher entered the 2006 season without having signed an extension is worthy of mention here. However, since 2007, only two other coaches have won two conference championship games - Giants coach Tom Coughlin and Patriots coach Bill Belichick.

Coughlin received an extension earlier this month, and Belichick's last extension was done in 2007, keeping him in place through 2013.

Tomlin's last extension came in 2010, a two year extension of his previous deal, and since teams rarely have coaches work into the final year of their contract, expect an extension in the near future. With Coughlin's deal reportedly worth somewhere in the ballpark of $20 million over three seasons, Tomlin's deal should be around that mark.

Tomlin replaced Cowher in 2007 after serving as the defensive coordinator of the Minnesota Vikings in 2006. He's 31-17 in the regular season and 6-3 in the playoffs. That mark includes 2-0 in the AFC Championship and 1-1 in the Super Bowl.

This season is looked upon as "Tomlin's" team in many ways. The nucleus of players who were drafted and arrived in Pittsburgh via free agency under Cowher are mostly gone now, and his first few noted drafted players - LBs Lawrence Timmons and LaMarr Woodley, DE Ziggy Hood and C Maurkice Pouncey are looked upon as savvy veterans now.

Tomlin shed the trend of Steelers teams dipping off the season after reaching the Super Bowl with a 12-4 mark last year, but a first-round playoff loss at Denver left many dissatisfied with the year as a whole. This year's team appears just as strong as any have been in Tomlin's regime, and looks on the brink of contention in the AFC.


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