Mike Tomlin has been the head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers Mike Tomlin has been the head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers since 2007, spending 17 seasons on the sidelines in charge of one of the most prestigious franchises in all of sports.
Tomlin has had success, winning one Super Bowl and playing for another, and becoming one of the winningest regular-season coaches in the history of the sport. But that has not changed the pressures of the job, with the expectations of the organization and its fanbase that has won six titles in the last 50 years that they keep on doing it.
Tomlin became head coach as a young man and is still just 51 years old, but 17 years is a long career as an NFL head coach. The median is less than half of that. Tomlin, though, doesn’t seem like he has any interest in slowing down. Asked during an appearance on The Rich Eisen Show on Friday about how he stays fresh in his job after all these years, Tomlin said it’s been easy because of his personality.
“It is so easy, to be honest with you,” Tomlin said. “I’m not going to act like it’s hard. First off, I absolutely love football. I love the challenges that this profession and my job present. I love working with players and helping them grow, individually and collectively. And so the collection of guys changes every year. They’re at different stages of their career. Man, I’m excited about working with Cam Heyward in terms of helping him elongate the end of his career. I’m excited about working with Broderick, laying a foundation to get the start of his career out of the station, if you will. When I get out of my car every day, the challenges are many, and they are often ever-changing, and I love it all, to be quite honest with you.”
That doesn’t meant that there still isn’t a pressure to perform, but Tomlin said he thrives on that part of the job.
“I absolutely love what you described as pressure,” he said. “I like the challenges. I like to compete. I like to be questioned. I like to be up against it. I’ve got enough knowledge of self to just know that I need that in my life. Man, if I wasn’t working in that way, I’d probably drive my wife crazy.”
The other option readily available to former coaches is to move into a media job, and while Tomlin said he appreciates those that have gone down that path, like his predecessor Bill Cowher, he’s not interested in pursuing it.
“I just don’t really have a strong desire to evaluate my peers in that way and participate in the game in that way,” he said. “I respect it and I appreciate it. I think our fans need it. I think it’s very useful to us in terms of bridging the gap between what we do and helping our fans appreciate it. It’s just not my area of expertise or desire. I like to get my nails a little bit more dirty.”
With Tomlin’s continued success on the field, and the team appearing to be on the upswing entering 2023, it doesn’t seem like he’ll be ready to leave his spot on the Steelers sideline any time soon.