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Is Mike Tomlin The NFL’s Most Overrated Head Coach?

Mike Tomlin

(Kelly L Cox/USA TODAY Sports)

Read why Mike Tomlin is not an elite coach (Kelly L Cox, USA Today)

Have the Pittsburgh Steelers underachieved the past 5 years? I think the answer to that question is yes. Without a Jeremy Hill fumble during last year’s wildcard round the Steelers would be winless in postseason games the past 5 years. Mike Tomlin has recorded a postseason record of 1-4 the past 5 years. To me, that just isn’t good enough. Are we sure that Mike Tomlin is an elite coach? In this piece, I plan to explain why Tomlin has been the most overrated head coach in recent memory.

Tomlin was named the Steelers head coach in 2007. Before that, Tomlin was a defensive coordinator in Minnesota. He managed to land to Steelers job despite being on a 6-10 Vikings team, an unusual characteristic for any guy getting a head coaching job. In fact, Tomlin’s Vikings unit ranked 31st in pass defense in 2006. I remembered thinking back to Tomlin’s hiring in Pittsburgh thinking; Why would the Steelers hire this guy? Then again it’s the Steelers. That place is hard to fail in.

The highlight of Tomlin’s coaching career was winning the Super Bowl in the 2008 NFL season. However, Tomlin wasn’t taking over a losing franchise. Pittsburgh had won the Super Bowl just a couple of years prior with Bill Cower who retired before Tomlin arrived. Tomlin was taking over a franchise that was built to succeed. He inherited Ben Roethlisberger (A hall of fame quarterback), an elite defense run by Dick Lebeau, and a great offensive coordinator Bruce Arians. Tomlin was merely a figurehead and a leader the team relied on. The Steelers didn’t even use Tomlin’s 4-3 defense when he took over the Steelers, they kept Dick Lebeau’s 3-4 fire-zone defense. Former Steelers great Terry Bradshaw had this to say about Mike Tomlin.

I’m not sure he’s wrong. Even to this day, the Steelers don’t use Tomlin’s defense. They use Keith Butler’s. Tomlin ran Bruce Arians and Dick Lebeau out of town and the team hasn’t been the same since. Since Arians left in 2011, the Steelers have won the division just twice in 5 years. When you have to compete against the Browns, Andy Dalton, and Joe Flacco, that’s just not good enough when you have a hall of fame quarterback. In the weaker AFC conference, how do you not dominate? Tom Brady finds himself taking lengthy postseason trips. So did Peyton Manning’s Colts and Broncos teams. Why isn’t Big Ben winning more in the playoffs? It’s because of Tomlin!

Let’s also not forget that this is the Steelers we are talking about. Does anyone draft better than these guys? Finding Antonio Brown in the 6th round, Le’Veon Bell in the 2nd, heck go watch Javon Hargrave play, he’s a stud. The Steelers constantly find talent. This isn’t a question of not getting help. Heck go back to the days of Hines Ward, Troy Polamalu, James Harrison; The Steelers have always had a great roster. The Rooney family has built a world class organization. Mike Tomlin is by far the worst coach in Steelers history. Bill Cowher took Neil O’Donnell to a Super Bowl while Mike Tomlin lost a playoff game to Tim Tebow; Give me a break Mike Tomlin is not an elite coach.

Have you noticed that the Steelers aren’t very disciplined anymore either? Mike Tomlin is on the sidelines trying to trip players (Jacoby Jones in 2013) and assistant coach Joey Porter getting into altercations with players in the playoffs last year. The longer Tomlin has been in Pittsburgh the more the issues have piled up. These things didn’t happen with the Steelers 15 years ago. The Steelers are often times an emotional rollercoaster when you watch them play. Tomlin’s career record vs. teams that are .500 or worse is 23-23. His teams don’t beat the teams they should and that’s coaching folks.

Say what you will about Mike Tomlin but a guy that has Ben Roethlisberger and a great defense has failed to deliver over the past 5 years. If the Steelers lose to the Dolphins in the wildcard round, who is to blame for another winless postseason exit?

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