The Pittsburgh Steelers were double-digit underdogs and didn’t have TJ Watt available for Monday’s 31-17 loss in Buffalo. You can’t blame Mike Tomlin for that so much. What you can blame him and the Steelers organization for is making the absolute least of his tenure since the 2010 season, after which they’ve advanced past the Divisional Round only once.
Tomlin had to see countless snaps of Kenny Pickett and Mitchell Trubisky before deciding that Mason Rudolph should play. Not like Rudolph is some world-beater at quarterback, but between clinging to Ben Roethlisberger for a few years too long and not having a competent Big Ben succession plan in place, Pittsburgh and Tomlin set themselves up for sadness year after year.
With Jerod Mayo taking Bill Belichick’s place in New England, the GOAT coach headlines an already-loaded head coaching class that also features Jim Harbaugh and Mike Vrabel as candidates actively seeking a new gig. Adding Tomlin to that mix is overwhelming for my mind to process. Nevertheless, the question was broached on Monday night, and Tomlin was having absolutely none of it.
Fascinating. I know Tomlin is known as this master motivator guy who allegedly keeps his composure and steers the Steelers through the many storms that seem to pop up within their locker room of colorful personalities. Alas, he didn’t exactly hold his own here.
Whether you want to answer that question or not, straight-up silence is probably not the best option. You can issue a vehement denial in the moment, even if it proves not to be true. By not saying anything, Tomlin encourages speculation about his future.
As an AFC North guy, I’d actually love to see Tomlin go somewhere else. See if he can spark a struggling football operation, and hopefully have the benefit of a viable QB already in place. I do think he’s a good coach, yet he’s sort of stuck in his ways.
So are the Steelers as a franchise. They need to get some new blood in there. Despite their surge into the postseason, they were not a threat at all to the Bills. Again, I know it’s tougher without Watt. Pittsburgh is 1-11 now when he doesn’t suit up. You can tell the locker room likes Tomlin, too.
Cam Heyward on Mike Tomlin: “I don’t want to play for any other coach.”
The thing is, if Tomlin’s Steelers were more willing to fire offensive coordinator Matt Canada sooner, and addressed the glaring Roethlisberger issue with any forethought whatsoever, they’d be multiple games better as a team. Watt wouldn’t have had to play in Week 18 against the Ravens’ backups and wouldn’t have gotten injured.
Here we are again. Apparently Pittsburgh is just fine with mediocrity and will pop bottles every time Mike Tomlin sneaks into the playoffs with a 9-8 record.
Mike Tomlin after going one-and-done in the playoffs again but he went another year keeping his no-losing seasons streak alive pic.twitter.com/YTVSe8p43t