By Jeremy Hritz
Earlier this week, Mike Tomlin signed a 3-year extension to remain the Steelers Head Coach, sustaining the organization’s history of stability in terms of coaching leadership. While the extension is not surprising, the duration of the contract somewhat is, as Tomlin’s typical extensions have been 1-2 years. With no regular season record below 8-8, his teams are always in contention, and while there is concern for a regression this year due to several free agency departures, his history bodes well for the success of this year’s team.
Criticized over the years as being too much of a “players coach” who doesn’t have “control of the locker room,” these myopic narratives reduce the global contributions Tomlin has made not only to the team, but also the city of Pittsburgh. While the unrealistic and unfair benchmark of going deep in the playoffs and winning the Super Bowl every year is Tomlin’s measuring stick from fans, his consistency, even with depleted rosters due to injuries, cannot be overlooked. While not a perfect coach, and one does not exist, he has become synonymous with Pittsburgh and the hard-nosed, gritty mentality. Whereas Bill Cowher had the chin, Tomlin has the swagger. Regardless of how his career ends, he will forever be a black and gold fixture.
It’s easy to take for granted success, and it isn’t until one experiences the other side that Tomlin’s winning resume will truly be appreciated for what it is. Let’s face it, avoiding the abyss of sub-8 win seasons will eventually overcast the Steelers landscape and their fans, as perpetual success is as about certain as whether or not Eric Ebron can hold on to a routine catch. When those days catch up to the team, and the system refresh gets enacted, only then will a true appreciation for Tomlin occur. It happened with Cowher, and it even happened to Chuck Noll.
How soon we forget, and how soon we are to lose perspective.
Here’s to another 3 winning seasons for Coach Tomlin and the Pittsburgh Steelers.