People are starting to wonder out loud if Mike Tomlin is an overrated head coach. Not sure that’s the case, but the Pittsburgh Steelers have long been high on their own supply, thinking their “culture” and logo would save them from scrutiny or the plague of losing.
The Steelers have refused to adequately address the quarterback position for the better part of the past sixseasons. They’ve maintained continuity on the coaching staff just for the sake of it, resulting in the tire fire of Matt Canada’s tenure as offensive coordinator. Additionally, after pulling off improbable wins left and right in 2023, their luck has, at long last, run out.
The Steelers lost to two 2-10 teams within five days.
The 2023 meltdown is going to make any previous Mike Tomlin collapse look like a fairytale. And truthfully, it’s time for the entire organization to realize their status quo philosophy doesn’t work in today’s era of football.
As the late, great Dennis Green once said, “THEY ARE WHO WE THOUGHT THEY WERE.” Everyone was letting Pittsburgh off the hook this year in particular, though. Being a Bengals guy, this was me basically every Sunday toward Mike Tomlin:
Tomlin has skated by with the claim to fame of never having a losing season. That streak is in real jeopardy now that the Steelers are 7-6 after losing to the Cardinals and Patriots in a span of five days. Suddenly, we might not have to sit through an eyesore of a game on Wild Card Weekend and could have an actually-decent offense participating in the Steelers’ stead.
It’s an offense-driven modern NFL, which isn’t Tomlin’s forte. Anyone with surface-level football knowledge can recognize how inept Pittsburgh is at all levels. The pass-blocking unit is garbage, which doesn’t help when you have marginal quarterback talent under center. Passing game concepts are elementary. Not much innovation going on overall. It’s translated to diminishing returns.
Last night’s bizarre call to suddenly get aggressive and bomb it on 4th and 2 with the game on the line was dubious at best.
#Steelers HC Mike Tomlin on throwing deep on 4th-and-2: “We play to win. We want to be aggressive.”
But don’t worry, Steeler Nation! Hardo Mike Tomlin was at the podium talking about resilience and all that jazz. Surely you’ll be just fine. Don’t press him about trivial matters like starting Mason Rudolph at quarterback.
Whether it’s Rudolph, Mitchell Trubisky (last night’s loser), or Kenny “Popgun” Pickett, Pittsburgh’s QBs either harbor a collective grudge or have conspired to avoid getting the ball to George Pickens often enough at all costs.
Pickens wanted out weeks ago, to no avail. Wanna see what a mentally checked-out player looks like when he’s wide-a** open and doesn’t get the ball for the umpteenth time?
All these bold proclamations I’m throwing out about the Steelers? The libelous assertion that they’re antiquated as a collective football operation? That they’re high on their own supply and think they can just waltz onto the field and figure out a way to win? Don’t take my word for it. Take it from one of their very best players, Minkah Fitzpatrick:
Minkah: “Dudes just think that because they’re wearing the Black and Gold that they gonna win games. And I think we need to check that mentality and make people realize they gotta earn that mentality.” #Steelers#NFLpic.twitter.com/q7156PuH3l
I feel for Fitzpatrick here. It’s not like the defense is fully at fault. I mean, allowing Patriots QB Bailey Zappe to throw three first-half touchdowns on you is certainly suboptimal. However, Pittsburgh made plenty of corrections in the second half and shut New England down. Didn’t matter.
After halftime the Steelers allowed 0 points, 84 total yards, 3 first downs & forced a turnover and blocked a punt.
That still wasn’t enough for the offense to comeback from an 11-point deficit.
It really is stunning to see the Steelers sink this low. The Cardinals and Patriots literally benefit from any loss they can get down the stretch, and here you are, losing to them while trying your damnedest to battle for a playoff spot. Beyond pathetic and laughable. Nobody seems to want to challenge the status quo in the Steel City. Tomlin isn’t quite the stabilizing force of nature everyone thinks he is. Again, it’s not all on him. This is an organizational failure to not be able to critically look at oneself in the mirror and figure out how to get with the times.
When you only have three head coaches since 1969 and lots of success, it’s easy to see how you can get stuck in your ways. Hell, we’re seeing it with Bill Belichick and the Patriots. That should make it all the more alarming that Tomlin’s Steelers couldn’t find a way to win on Thursday night. Might be time for a massive reset for the franchise, or so many, many credible people are saying.
It’s also really starting to come home to roost that Mike Tomlin’s coaching staff is lightweight. It’s been a debilitating factor for the organization for some time, but it’s probably at its worst right now. Allowing Tomlin to hire assistants with a flat trajectory has to end.
Mike Tomlin is not the #Steelers biggest problem. Not even close. But for his good and good of the team he should resign after the season. Like many coaches before him, he’s stayed too long with same team. Step away for a year or 2 and he’d have his pick of jobs when he returned.
My friends who like Cleveland and other AFC-adjacent teams always recoil in horror at the suggestion of firing Mike Tomlin and say they’d love him on their team and would hire him immediately. Please, take him, and enjoy the mismanagement and losses to putrid football teams.
Or, you know, y’all Steelers higher-ups can knock yourselves out and continue to scrape your way toward 9-8 records every year. Fine by me! I just don’t think it’ll land super well with the actual fans of the team.