How about we forgo the ‘Fire Mike Tomlin’ nonsense during the Pittsburgh Steelers offseason? | Sports News | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

How about we forgo the ‘Fire Mike Tomlin’ nonsense during the Pittsburgh Steelers offseason? 

Cowher was given a whole lot more leeway than Tomlin has ever been given

click to enlarge Mike Tomlin - CP PHOTO BY LUKE THOR TRAVIS
  • CP Photo by Luke Thor Travis
  • Mike Tomlin

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin was fired on Sunday night — by some guy on Twitter with 13 followers.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that within seconds of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ loss to the New England Patriots in the Jan. 22 AFC Championship game, fans were already out on social media calling for the coach of 10 years to be fired. 

Here’s a small sampling from Twitter:

“As far as replacing Tomlin, I know a pee-wee Coach who can step rtf in = same results.”

“Steelers need a new coach Mike Tomlin is overrated and not even top 10.”


Needless to say, I don’t agree with any of these sentiments; I never have. People have been calling for Tomlin’s head ever since he arrived in Pittsburgh. He’s been given more shit than the PWSA and given less slack than, well, the PWSA. 

It seems ridiculous that we have to do this after every big Steelers loss. In his decade with the team, Tomlin has been successful, and while he’s lost some big games, he’s won a few too. He’s constantly compared to Bill Cowher, a coach who has lost more big games and squandered more opportunities than Tomlin ever has. I liked Cowher then, and I like him now, but Tomlin is being held to a standard that Cowher was never expected to reach.

Let’s review.

Mike Tomlin is 1-1 in Super Bowls; Cowher is 1-1. Tomlin is 2-1 in AFC Championship games; Cowher was 2-4. Cowher had three losing seasons in 10 years; Tomlin hasn’t had any. Cowher was 149-91 in 15 seasons with a .623 win percentage; Tomlin is 103-57 with a win percentage of .644. Finally, Cowher won the AFC North title eight times in 15 years; Tomlin has won it six times in 10 years.

This isn’t an exercise to decide whether Mike Tomlin is a better coach than Bill Cowher. But it shows that they’re really close. Tomlin hasn’t just been moderately successful in 10 years, he’s been phenomenal. It also shows that Cowher was given a whole lot more leeway than Tomlin has ever been given. 

Steelers fans have a history of thinking the grass is always greener somewhere else. But who would you suggest to take over the Steelers? Jeff Fisher? Chip Kelly? Rex “Freaking” Ryan? But make no mistake: We need to keep Tomlin, because he’s a successful coach and good for this city. 


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