If I’m being honest with both myself and you, the reader, there was a time during the Pittsburgh Steelers 2022 season when I wondered if Mike Tomlin was growing weary of his current position.
Yes, the position of head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
It happens to everyone, and except for the few, like Bill Belichick with the New England Patriots, you often hear about coaches who feel as if the message got stale, or they don’t love the grind anymore.
When you consider how Los Angeles Rams coach Sean McVay, just one year removed from the Rams’ Super Bowl win, is considering stepping away from his post as head coach to venture into other areas of the game (broadcasting), it’s natural to wonder if Tomlin had considered something similar.
At 2-6, there were moments when Tomlin spoke to the media and you can see the strain it had taken on him. He looked tired, and you have to start wondering if/when the coach is done with the job. In 2006 Bill Cowher had a similar look, and it was shortly after the season when he decided to retire. Most assumed he’d return to the sideline sooner, rather than later, but he never did. Instead, he has been a mainstay on the NFL on CBS pre-game show.
Thinking about how charismatic Tomlin is, and would be in a similar role, I’m sure any number of broadcast companies have reached out to Tomlin’s constituents wondering what it would take, financially, to get him to hang up the whistle for good. After all, Tomlin would be perfect in that role.
However, some say winning cures all, and the 7-2 finish by the Steelers brought some life back to the organization, and that would include Tomlin. Finishing the season 9-8 isn’t the goal the Steelers set for themselves, but it was an impressive turnaround after a forgettable start to the season.
In his post-season press conference, the last question Tomlin was asked was if he still has the fire to do the job. The competitive fire.
You just talked about competition and all that lighting a fire under you to keep going. Do you still feel that same competitive fire and everything going into this off-season? Do you still feel that same motivation and fire?
Tomlin’s answer left no doubt as to where he stands.
“More so. Increasingly so.” Tomlin quickly replied.
Tomlin signed a three-year extension in April 2021, which means he is under contract through the 2024 season. Whether that is the end of his tenure, or the team gives him another extension, has yet to be seen. In the meantime, it seems as if Tomlin isn’t going anywhere, and his desire to win another championship still burns hot within him.
For many fans, this is disheartening, considering they would rather the team part ways with Tomlin, but the Steelers thrive on continuity and will likely keep Tomlin as their coach until he tells them he wants to move on with his life’s work.
Entering the 2022 season Tomlin was facing uncharted waters without his future Hall of Fame quarterback Ben Roethlisberger there as a mainstay. After drafting Kenny Pickett in the 2022 NFL Draft, it seems as if he has his new quarterback of the future. A chance to start anew, and to prove himself once again. Can he get the job done? That has yet to be seen, but Tomlin certainly seems as if he’s ready and willing to take on the challenge.
Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for what could be a lengthy offseason.