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Mike Tomlin - 3 Year Extension

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55 minutes ago, warfelg said:

If you want to make it cut and dry like that, like I said, to each their own.

But it is that cut and dry. This is a results based business, not a feel good one. You either did make playoffs or you didn't. You either do win a playoff game or you don't. 

That 2015 Jets shouldn't celebrate not having a chance to win a playoff game after losing twice to the 8-8 Bills, once to the 7-9 Raiders, the 7-9 Eagles, or the 9-7 Texans. They didn't take care of their own business. They own that. Same with us when we missed playoffs in this 7 year stretch. 

1 hour ago, warfelg said:

So why not assess them each like that?

...I do? On individual seasons.

Would I fire Tomlin after 2024 losing to Josh Allen with Mason Rudolph? No. Absolutely not. Would I move on from Tomlin after a decade's worth of no postseason success, regardless of situation? Absolutely yes. It shouldn't even get that far. At some point, it's not getting done and that's all that matters. 

1 hour ago, warfelg said:

we were home favorites by 3.5 points which is basically a toss up in Vegas's eyes (and then we got hit with the Pouncy snap for Browns points and the Ben pick 6 in the 2nd drive)

That's also the game we played against a team missing their top OL, best CB, with their HC in a basement somewhere, and having only had one team practice over a 2 week period due to covid. 

There's excuses everywhere which we can judge individually. Some are valid, some are biased. But at the end of the day, we have 7 years of drought. 

1 hour ago, warfelg said:

If we walk away from the year going "we got a dominate OL, a stud WR1, a top 10 TE, a developing WR2 (Austin or Wilson), and a top 10 defense, we just need to plug an play a QB", I would be ecstatic moving forward. That's a structure a rookie QB you trade up for can come in and be the difference maker in (FWIW I'm not a fan of the 2025 QB class so I hope we can get two years of QB play at above average out of the room).

Would the next thing be that you need to give a rookie QB at least a year before you can truly judge it, right?

At what stage would you start to judge the results? 10 years with no playoff success? 15, maybe 20? Mahomes, Allen, Burrow, Herbert, Lamar, and Stroud are all under 30, so that's 8-10 years deals with those guys in the same conference. 

1 hour ago, warfelg said:

I feel that this transition from the Ben era to the next era wasn't managed well

I would agree with this....but he is also a part of that. 

1 hour ago, warfelg said:

Especially since we gave Cowher extensions twice off losing seasons (IIRC) and one time after having only 1 playoff win in 7 years.

Just an FYI because I did the charting work with the other coach stuff I did: Cowher's longest playoff win drought was 3 seasons (didn't even make it during that time). He won a playoff game in 8 of his 15 seasons. It's a chart more about how often you win in the playoffs and how often you get there...but he ranks third on that behind Reid and Billy B. 

And just because I was curious, Noll's longest streak was 4. So Tomlin is alone in regards of how long this team has gone without postseason success. 

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1 hour ago, warfelg said:

Like I said to each their own on judging postseason success by numbers or wanting to understand more about what actually happened.

What do you mean "or"? I've literally said I understand the nuance and the singularity of the detail behind some of the factors, but that the lack of success becomes too hard to ignore after a period of time that makes him so unlike his peers. 

This is why it's so hard to have a conversation with you. You just turned a back and forth into a black and white structure in which I am the mindless shill who can only understand a number and you are the coherent party above the discussion. 

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4 hours ago, Dcash4 said:

I've literally said I understand the nuance and the singularity of the detail behind some of the factors, but that the lack of success becomes too hard to ignore after a period of time that makes him so unlike his peers. 

Then why is “but 7 years” too hard to draw the line on to me.

Here’s the last 7 years:

2016 - won in WC and Div rounds, lost in AFCCG to NE beating the 2 seed along the way. I think this was a good year despite not winning the AFC.

2017 - Lost to Jacksonville. I’ve stated a few times this is one we should have won.

2018 - This was the season Bell sat out, Brown started to go nuts. IIRC if we don’t tie the Browns at the start of the season and win, we’re in the playoffs. I’ll say this season likely on Tomlin for that tie (this is also that season of the infamous “DPI” that Haden had on Kamara in the Saints game late in the season).

2019 - Traded away Brown before the start of the season, lose Ben in the 2nd game of the year for the season, played a combo of Mason and Duck to an 8-8 record. I consider this an overachieving season where using the metric of years in playoffs vs not kinda loses the narrative IMO.

2020 - I’ll be honest, this is one in the nuance of the season there would likely lead to a disagreement, but this felt like a very smoke and mirrors year to me. Ben was a dink and dunker coming off the surgery. We were a very overrated 10-0 team. There were 1 score wins in weeks 2, 3, 7, 8, 9, 12, and 16 so the team lived on the edge all year and had a lot of breaks go their way to create that. Even half those games go the other way we miss the playoffs. Then the playoff game we turn the ball over in our own territory 4/6 first drives with one of them being a botched snap that lead to a TD. All in Q1, all lead to TDs, those 3 INT’s got the Browns starting the drives on our 46, 15, and 47.

2021 - Old man Ben year where we barely made the playoffs, get blown out by the Chiefs who we were clearly outmatched on from a talent standpoint.

2022 - Influx year with terrible OL, bad QB play, TJ Watt missing half the season with a torn pec. Basically a tie breaker out of the playoffs in a season where we were heavily predicted to be a 6 win team.

2023 - Again barely made the playoffs when down to your QB3 at the start of the season playing an opponent that we were overmatched against.


To go back to the start and why I asked if you weigh anything, its again because that matters to me. Saying they missed the playoffs therefor it’s not a successful year, imo, misses on some things. Just a small spot of thinking over vs under achieving. A small quick one to point at that I feel plays into my feeling is preseason O/U and end results.

2016 - 10.5 O/U - 11 wins - expected outcome - AFCCG loss

2017 - 10.5 O/U - 13 wins - overachievement - Divisional round loss after bye

2018 - 10.5 O/U - 9 wins - slight underachievement - Missed playoffs

2019 - 9 O/U - 8 wins - slight underachievement with caveat that Ben was out after 6 quarters

2020 - 9 O/U - 12 wins - overachievement - Wild Card Loss

2021 - 8.5 O/U - 9 wins - expected outcome - Wild Card Loss

2022 - 7.5 O/U - 9 wins - overachievement - Missed playoffs

2023 - 8.5 O/U - 10 wins - overachievement - Wild Card Loss

4 years of overachievement in that span, 2 years having the expected outcome, 2 years of underachievement where one of them had the fHOF QB on IR. To me, when you beat those expectations, I’m not as upset about losing because you already did something you shouldn’t have done. Especially in 3 of the last 4 years if we did what was expected as a result we would have missed the playoffs completely, I personally am challenged to care about being mad at the coach for not winning that game.

Just to give a counter team:


2016 - 4.5 O/U - 1 win - underachievement - Missed Playoffs

2017 - 4.5 O/U - 0 wins - underachievement - Missed Playoffs

2018 - 5.5 O/U - 7 wins - overachievement - Missed Playoffs

2019 - 9.5 O/U - 6 wins - underachievement - Missed Playoffs

2020 - 8.5 O/U - 11 wins - overachievement - WC win, Divisional loss *Stafanski Hired

2021 - 10 O/U - 8 wins - underachievement - Missed Playoffs

2022 - 10 O/U - 7 wins - underachievement - Missed Playoffs

2023 - 10.5 O/U - 11 wins - expected outcome - WC loss


2016 - 7.5 O/U - 8 wins - expected - missed playoffs

2017 - 8.5 O/U - 9 wins - expected - missed playoffs

2018 - 8 O/U - 10 wins - overachievement - WC loss

2019 - 8.5 O/U - 14 wins - overachievement - divisional loss as 1 seed

2020 - 11 O/U - 11 wins - expected - WC win Division Loss

2021 - 11.5 O/U - 8 wins - underachievement - missed playoffs

2022 - 10.5 O/U - 10 wins - expected - WC loss

2023 - 10.5 O/U - 13 wins - overachievement - Divisional win, AFCCG loss

So based on all of that you have:

Steelers 4 overachieving seasons, Ravens 2, Browns 2

Steelers 2 expected years, Ravens 4, Browns1

Steelers 2 underachieving years, Ravens 1, Browns 5

So looking at this, again it takes me to the fact that one of those teams is expected to be there yearly and is without a major win yet, one of those teams is expected to be there regularly lately and isn’t, and one team hasn’t been expected to be there (playoffs) and is.

All of this has taken me more into feeling that retaining Tomlin was the right call to constantly have this team in a position that it shouldn’t. And that’s despite the playoff losses because it wasn’t an expectation to be there at the start of the year. To me that’s more impressive than being a coach who just meats expectations or a coach that is underperforming relative to expectations. 

If your expectations for any of those seasons are different that what the over/under line was then ok, but it’s not an expectation that everyone uses that line.


I was also curious on how many players are still left from that last playoff win.


Cam Heyward and Chris Boswell.

If you want to do that last season they had a reasonable chance to win the playoff game in 2020.


Cam Heyward, Chris Boswell, TJ Watt, Cam Sutton, Alex Highsmith*, Minkah Fitzpatrick^

* rookie, ^traded for in season

90% roster turnover in 3 seasons that included 2 trips to the playoffs. That’s a massive amount of turnover to have in a roster in that time span. Heck even 2022 to now there’s only 17 guys left on the roster. So based on a 90 man roster we’ve seen 93% roster turnover from 2020 to 2024, and 2020 (Ben retiring as a marker of rebuilding) to 2024 there’s an 81% of roster turnover. Yet we were in contention for the playoffs every year in that span, remolded everything including philosophy from Fichtner to Canada to now Smith, and did it without a top 10 pick, without a 1st rounder one year, while being tight against the cap, constantly losing more talent than we are bringing in. 

Leave out the fact that not many coaches would be able to survive that (looking at Belichick) how many coaches would be in position to make the playoffs through all of that. The answer is not many.

Heck even a common comparison - Andy Reid was 12-26 his last 3 years in Philly without McNabb (his son also overdosed on heroin at camp while acting as an assistant strength and conditioning coach), won 1 playoff game in 5 years with Alex Smith as the QB in KC. When Andy left Philly the departure had more to do with his son and the poor record while having total personnel control. Without Mahomes, Andy is a .667 record with an 11-13 playoff record, 5 conference championships, and 1 SB visit. Without Ben, Tomlin is a .780 win with and 0-1 record without Mahomes. I am kinda curious what we would be thinking of Andy Reid if they didn’t have Mahomes in KC. Because without him Andy and Tomlin are the same win rate in the playoffs (45%), but Tomlin has the extra SB visit and the win.

Let’s use another coach because without Brady, Belichick has had a similar roster to the Steelers IMO. In 4 years without Brady he lost his only playoff game and has a 0.431 record. In that time frame the Patriots saw a touch less roster turnover compared to the Steelers but faired much much worse. Now I know Brady is the GOAT and losing him was going to be a huge dent, but that great of a coach should have been able to keep that team somewhat competitive through a rebuild and not get himself fired through terrible personnel decisions and poor player development.

The more I look into these instances coaches tend to be let go because of a prolonged (2/3 or 3/4) losing seasons, a decline in development, and maybe a playoff visit after losing their franchise QB. In that time not only have we not dipped to that low, we got to the playoffs 3/4 rebuilding years and saw a massive turnover in personnel and philosophy from being an offense first team in 2017 to defense first by 2022 to balanced hopefully this year.

If you want to count the playoff losses and .559 record in two years that same low as .315 over 3 and .431 over 3 that ended those regimes with their respective long term teams, then ok. For what it’s worth the Steelers need to go 0-17 this year for Tomlin to land right between the record that got Reid and Belichick fired at a .373. I don’t think that’s likely. 

Some of this comes down of course to the expectations of playoffs or what Vegas sets lines at. I will acknowledge that. I will say as a Steelers fan I do feel blessed to say that we expect playoff wins more often than not and have expectations of being in the playoffs most the time. But taking those googles off and looking at what’s expected vs how lines are set, we’re doing pretty damn good.


I apologize for the length of my post but this just is a small part of what’s going on in my mind of the context I look at with this and why I view, especially the last 7 years, as such a nuanced conversation that I can’t really boil down to a few points. 

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11 hours ago, warfelg said:

I will say as a Steelers fan I do feel blessed to say that we expect playoff wins more often than not

You paint a very pretty picture of regular season success. Maybe Tomlin is the best regular season coach in history? I don't mean that sarcastically or as a slight, maybe he is. But regular season success is empty without playoff wins. I don't think there is one person in the league that would trade 12 wins a seasons for a playoff win. 

As I stated many times, I understand looking at the individual seasons, but if the totality of that picture is a mess over a decade plus those individual pieces don't matter. 

Here are some numbers that need to be said out loud:

Tomlin has 17 years of coaching this team. 11 playoff appearances and 8 total wins. 

2007 - 2010 (First 4 seasons): 3 appearances, 5 wins, 2 super bowl games, 1 win

2011 - 2023 (13 seasons): 8 appearances, 3 wins (3-8 record)

The last T-H-I-R-T-E-E-N years include 2 seasons with a playoff win. I don't care what your individual seasons look like at that number, it's just bad. 

The vast majority of Tomlin's success came in his first four years of coaching. It includes 2 super bowl appearances with one win spearheaded by roster of players he didn't bring in and coached by coordinators he didn't hire. Since that last run in 2010: THIRTEEN years of 3 total wins, two of which came in the same season. Most of which included a hall of fame quarterback. 

I am sorry man, anyway you shake it it's bad. Not okay. Bad

And it's drastically unlike his peers. Tomlin wins a playoff game in 24% of his seasons coached...which puts him in line with Ron Rivera at 15%. Do you want Ron Rivera? I do not. 

McDermott: 57%
Shanahan: 57%
Reid: 56%
Cowher: 53%
Bill: 52%
Harbaugh: 50%
Carrol: 44%
Payton: 44%
McVay: 43%
McCarthy: 41%

Again, Tomlin....24%. He would need to win a playoff game in 10 straight seasons to reach the middle of that group. 

Not only is that bad, but also just the amount of times he wins a game when he MAKES the playoffs is the worst of that group at 36%. Cowher was second on the list with an 80% clip of winning a game once you made playoffs. Outside of Rivera (40%) McVay and McCarthy are at the bottom of that list at 60% and 58% respectively. Twenty-two percentage points separate Mike from the bottom of the list. 

We can look at Reid without Mahomes or Bill without Brady, but the issue is that when those guys had/have them...they are great. Tomlin had fHOF QB Ben Roethlisberger.....and blanked most of his time with him. Bill was blanked 3 times in 17 appearances in the playoffs with Brady (82% win rate). Reid has never been blanked with Mahomes (100%). Ben and Tomlin? Only won 40% of their trips to the playoffs together.  

This number needs to be said again: In the last 13 years, we have two seasons with playoff wins. You seem very comfortable with that going to 15 or beyond. I have no idea why, but you are already gearing up the excuses to get Tomlin through the contract. 

Regular season wins are great. But other teams hang playoff pelts on the wall, not participation trophies. It's unfortunate the that things we hang on the mantle of success for Mike are so dusty, coming 16 years ago. If Tomlin wants to see the end of that contract he needs to earn it, because it's hard to say he has recently when the totality of the picture is THAT bad in the postseason. 

Maybe Tomlin is the most unlucky coach to have every been in the NFL.....maybe he just isn't the guy he is projected to be based on the first four years of his career. 

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This is a very interesting discussion. I think, regardless of the extension, Tomlin's seat is the warmest it's been. If we don't win a playoff game this year and next, I can't see him finishing the contract. That's a pretty cool seat for most NFL coaches, but for the Steelers, that's warm. 

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24 minutes ago, MOSteelers56 said:

This is a very interesting discussion. I think, regardless of the extension, Tomlin's seat is the warmest it's been. If we don't win a playoff game this year and next, I can't see him finishing the contract. That's a pretty cool seat for most NFL coaches, but for the Steelers, that's warm. 

To me it comes to this question - do you think this roster is good enough to make the playoffs? If that answer is no and we make it, it doesn’t seem right to judge it on that.

I’ve said though that’s why I’m not super hung up on the playoff wins thing. Like, yes I want to see wins, but when the team isn’t expected to be there anyways and is, that to me is a sign of great coaching. 

Personally I sort of look at Tomlin’s career in 3 phases: 2007-2011ish - The Cowher Team Era, 2013-2017(ish) - The Killer B’s No D era, 2018-2024 Decline of Ben and Rebuild. I think it hurts in the Killer B’s era to not have given ourselves better chances there. But those Denver Manning teams and Brady’s primes are not bad teams to admit we fell short relative to, and really to me there’s 1 loss in there that truly pisses me off (the Jags one).

I was kinda curious so I wanted to see what Ben looked like in the playoff losses. Stat lines:

2010 SB loss - 25-40 263y, 2 TD, 2 INT (1 pick-6)

2011 WC loss - 22-40 289y, 1 TD, 1 INT

2014 WC loss - 18-29 259y, 2 TD, 0 INT, 1 FBL

2015 Div loss - 24-37 339y, 0 TD, 0 INT

2016 AFCCG loss - 31-47 314y, 1 TD, 1 INT

2017 Div loss - 37-58 469y, 5 TD, 1 INT, 1 FBL (resulted in TD)

2020 WC loss - 47-68 501y, 4 TD, 4 INT

2022 WC loss - 29-44 215y, 2 TD, 0 INT, 1 FBL

Total stat line in these losses: 233-363, 2,649, 17 TD, 9 INT, 3 FBL

That expanding though made me look back at some years like 2011 when Ryan Clark had to miss that game and Mundy bit on a PA he had not bitten on all year and so many former players and coaches said he made the mistake and was reminded right before OT not to go into the box. 2014 I honestly don’t really remember.  2015 when we went into Denver again and we were without Bell, Brown, Williams, Pouncey and almost pulled out the victory if it weren’t for the play where Peyton gave himself up in the pocket but was able to get up and complete the pass.

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1 hour ago, rlon said:

That should have been blown dead. Ridiculous...

Yea but that was in the period of let them play and let replay correct it. But replay doesn’t correct that. 

Anyways I found this interesting:


2005 v 2008 Super Bowl teams only crossed over 13 starters and two of them were the kicker and long snapper. By 2010 it was 8 with one being the long snapper. And there were 8 more on Cowhers final roster that went 8-8 who were on that 2008 team but not the 2005 including James Harrison, Santonio Holmes, Ryan Clark. And Harrison was a common Cowher cut. 

3 minutes ago, August4th said:

I think we beat that den team easily, if  brown were healthy... although NE would've killed us a week later, so losing to Denver is whatever to me lol

My mind honestly goes to DeAngelo Williams. IIRC Fitzgerald Tussiant had nothing that game carrying the rock and missed on two key blocks. 

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It's not worth continuing the conversation because it's just wild the paths we will go down to defend Tomlin from any wrongdoing. An article share where 8 players on the roster before Tomlin don't count as Cowher players because they didn't play in the super bowl 2 year earlier....

The 12-4 Steelers(-7.5 road favorites for those that keep track of these things...) with the number 1 defense in the league missing their 6/7th best player and playing the worst QB in the league gets an excuses for the loss because of 1 play... I am not sure where we go from here. 

13 years with 2 years of playoff success sucks. Point blank period. 


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