I already went on a pretty epic rant about how Mike Tomlin is one of the elite coaches in the NFL, and perhaps pro football history, however, that might not be enough for the "pitchfork and torch" crowd who call for the resignation of the Steelers staff after every loss.
What does that mean for this article? It means I'm about to go on another pro-Tomlin rant, this time, disputing a commonly referred to phrase:
Mike Tomlin has only won one playoff game in the last five years.
People really hang on this statement after a Steelers loss, but seriously: is that a good enough reason to fire Tomlin?
Um, no. Not even close!
Aside from Tomlin closing in on being in the company of elite coaches who have won 100 games in their first 10 season in the NFL, his .636 winning percentage was the fourth-best regular season winning mark among active NFL head coaches with a minimum of 50 games coached.
As for the postseason: only three teams have made the playoffs more than the Steelers since Tomlin took control of the team in 2007. Those three teams are the New England Patriots, Green Bay Packers and the Indianapolis Colts.
Consider too the short list of teams that have made the Super Bowl since 2007, and that the Steelers have made that trip twice.
However, that might not be enough facts to quell the "Fire Tomlin" mob, so I went out and compiled postseason data for all of the teams in the NFL. In the table below I list how many times teams have won in the playoffs over the last five years, and how many times they've won in the postseason since 2007.
Pittsburgh may only have one win in the postseason in the last 5 years, but only 11 teams in the league have more than that. Only 2 of those teams failed to win a Super Bowl (Carolina and San Francisco) which means of those teams, each had to win at least 3 games in one postseason (i.e. Divisional Round, Conference Championship and Super Bowl).
Furthermore, five other franchises only have "one playoff win" in the last 5 seasons: the Arizona Cardinals, Kansas City Chiefs, Dallas Cowboys, San Diego Chargers, and Atlanta Falcons. Four of those teams, with the exception of the Falcons, have won those games with their current head coach: each of those coaches are entering at least their fourth season with their respective teams as well.
15 other franchises, or nearly half of the league, have failed to win one postseason game in the last 5 years; when someone states that Tomlin has only won one playoff game in five years, that's better than 50% of the NFL.
Digging deeper, 10 NFL teams haven't won a playoff game since Tomlin started coaching in 2007. Five teams haven't made the playoffs since Tomlin's era began as well, while the Steelers are tied with 3 other franchises as 4th-best in the league with 6 postseason appearances since '07.
Tomlin's Steelers are 6th best in playoff victories since his tenure began as well.
Therefore, Tomlin's postseason appearances and accomplishments shouldn't be diminished, regardless of their recent shortfalls. Five teams haven't won a playoff game since the year 2000. Even with a 4-4 start, Pittsburgh is far from out of the playoff picture. According to the NFL:
Since 2000, 40 teams have reached the halfway point of their season with a .500 or below winning percentage and advanced to the playoffs, including at least one in each season.
With his previous track record, my money is on Mike Tomlin making it into the fold again for 2016.