Normally when you see a professional or even college football coach given an extension it’s because they’ve recently won a championship or had a run of really good success. There are times however when contract extensions are given merely on the faith that the coach can get the job done.
For the Steelers, Mike Tomlin fits a little bit of both of those perspectives. Tomlin has an impressive resume that has been built largely on his first few seasons. The problem as I see it is where the ‘faith’ part enters into the equation.
Tomlin and the Steelers have not won a playoff game since January of 2010. Since then were playoff losses to Green Bay in Super Bowl XLV, a Wild-Card loss to the Tim Tebow-led Denver Broncos and then last year’s home loss to Baltimore.
Mixed in there were two 8-8 seasons and a myriad of locker room issues that resulted in the banning of (gulp!) ping-pong and billiards.
Don’t for a second think that the Steelers’ AFC North Division Title made all of those things go away either. When an all-time great like Troy Polamalu is upset with the behavior and actions of his head coach as Polamalu was, then there’s a problem.
At this point, most of you are thinking that I am not a Mike Tomlin supporter but you’d be wrong. I too have faith that Tomlin will get the Steelers back to a Super Bowl. He’s surrounded himself with a high-octane offense and a fast, young and hungry defense and Chairman Dan Rooney’s return from Ireland has helped too.
The first step towards building faith will start in New England on opening night. It will continue with the Baltimore Ravens and John Harbaugh who have owned Tomlin in recent seasons.
Art Rooney II is giving Tomlin this extension based more on his past than his future in my opinion but that doesn’t mean he still can’t be successful. It does however put pressure on both men. Even with a difficult schedule, a deep playoff run is still expected.
In other words, keep the faith.