Head coach Mike Tomlin has long been a staple of the Steeler franchise. And after 14 seasons in Pittsburgh, that looks like it won’t be changing anytime soon.
Team president Art Rooney II has made it very clear the Steelers intend to continue on with Tomlin heading into the 2021 season.
Despite a brutal 48-37 loss to Cleveland in the Wild Card round, Steelers team president Rooney believes firing the veteran coach for one blown game would be an overreaction.
The matchup was ultimately sealed after a dreadful first quarter for Pittsburgh. The first play from scrimmage was a botched snap over the head of Ben Roethlisberger — sailing into the end zone to be recovered by a Browns defender. Two interceptions for Roethlisberger would lead to two more touchdowns for Cleveland in the first quarter alone.
The Steelers finished the contest with five turnovers (four off Roethlisberger interceptions). With all these giveaways, Rooney said he feels the game was too difficult to judge. Despite the horrific start, the president believes Tomlin had his team prepared for the playoffs.
“It’s hard to analyze what we did there in terms of turning the ball over that way. You’re not going to win very many games,” Rooney said on Thursday, per Joe Rutter of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review. “I don’t see how you really attribute that to coaching preparation. I think the team went into that game prepared and felt like we were going to win.
“It wasn’t one of those things where we came out flat or anything like that. You just can’t turn the ball over.”
Pittsburgh started off the season hotter than any team in the NFL. With an 11-0 start, the Steelers looked primed for a deep playoff run.
But, when it mattered most — the team’s momentum hit a hard 180.
Including the Wild Card loss to Cleveland, the Steelers dropped five of their final six games. Rooney addressed the poor finish in his comments as well.
“The way we finished was not one of those positives,” Rooney said. “Mike (Tomlin) feels as bad about that as any of us, and he is determined to do what we need to do to fight to get back into having another opportunity to win the division and move on.”
Tomlin’s last contract with the Steelers was a one-year extension through 2021. Unless he’s given another extension or exercises his 2022 coaching option, next season will be the final year of his existing deal.
While he won’t go into contract specifics, Rooney indicated on Wednesday that Tomlin will more than likely stick around for longer than just next season.
”The only thing I can say is we are very happy with Mike as our coach and look forward to him continuing beyond this season,” Rooney said. “We don’t like to get into that business and discussion his contract publicly, but we’re very happy that Mike is our coach, that’s for sure.
“I feel comfortable in saying he’ll be our coach into the future,” Rooney added on Thursday.
Well, there you have it. Tomlin isn’t going anywhere soon.