Fifteen Years Ago Mike Tomlin Became Head Coach Of The Pittsburgh Steelers | He’s Been Putting Us Up On Game Ever Since

Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin has been the embodiment of Black excellence in the NFL. On Jan. 27, 2007, he became the head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers after sharpening his coaching teeth as a defensive backs coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and defensive coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings before taking over in Pittsburgh.

Mike Tomlin Never Had A Losing Season 

Under his watch, the team has never had a losing season. Tomlin’s 15 years to begin a career without a losing season is an NFL record. During that span, he’s been to ten playoff runs, seven division titles, three AFC Championship Games, two Super Bowl appearances, and won a title in Super Bowl XLIII.

He’s also the third of four African-American head coaches to lead a team to the Super Bowl, along with Tony Dungy, Lovie Smith, and Jim Caldwell.

However, Tomlin’s career has faced its share of challenges from the NFL’s short memories, and even shorter-sided narratives have attempted to shortchange his greatness.

Rooney Rule Poster Boy

Tomlin, then a young Black coach, came out of nowhere and became a poster boy beneficiary of the Rooney Rule instituted in 2003 to improve the visibility of potential minority head coaching hires. The rule got him in the door, but more important, Tomlin crushed his interview with the Steelers brass, becoming the youngest Super Bowl coach in history, leading the Steelers to the top of the mountain in his second season at the tender coaching age of 36.

Mike Tomlin Is An Anomaly As Black Head Coach  

He has always been considered an anomaly, even before he won the title. However, now that he is past that and has a champsionship to his name, he is still considered an aberration as a standard bearer for coaching and is of color. After setting a high standard for himself with a career of winning seasons, he has been chasing additional Super Bowl dreams with an aging and now-retired Ben Rothlisberger and his new cache of young quarterbacks.

Steelers Nation is spoiled and has often contemplated and expressed a desire for another head coaching option. However, that discounts Tomlin’s consistency and leadership in the face of his evident adversity.

Mike Tomlin Is Second-Longest Tenured NFL Head Coach

As the longest-tenured head coach in the game behind Bill Belichick, Tomlin’s become a stalwart in the Steelers organization. Although he hasn’t been back to the Super Bowl since 2008, he’s been in the middle of many incredible moments in football.

He just finished a 9-8 season during what can be considered one of the worst of his career, with rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett taking over for Mitch Trubisky in the post-Ben Roethlisberger era.

Tomlin has also become a safe haven for players and other coaches. He hired former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores after his controversial exit from the team and callout of the NFL hiring system for coaches.

Under Tomlin, controversial former player Antonio Brown at one point became “the best punt returner on the planet,” Tomlin said last year on “The Pivot Podcast.” In his first NFL regular season game, Brown returned a kickoff 89 yards for a score. He also returned four punts for scores as a Steeler. Fellow wide receiver and former Brown teammate on the Steelers Juju Smith-Schuster revealed what makes Tomlin such a great coach.

“Coach Tomlin is a defensive head coach and a great coach, you know, defensive scheme and all that,” Smith-Schuster said on Audiorama’s Block Forever podcast.

On the cusp of Black History month, Mike Tomlin is the symbol of a model head coaching career in the NFL; then he’s a Black man. Nuff said.

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