In Pittsburgh, it’s not hard to find people who think the Steelers should move on from Mike Tomlin. But inside the building, it seems to be the exact opposite. The Athletic’s NFL insider, Dianna Russini, said that it is hard to find anyone in the Steelers organization that actually believes the team will move on from Tomlin.
“It’s hard to find anyone in the Steelers’ organization who strongly believes 51-year-old Mike Tomlin will get fired. Though the head coach who has never had a losing season has been losing lately, and to losing teams in front of their home crowd, it’s always explained to me by people who know the operation: Caution and patience,” Russini wrote.
Russini’s report largely echoes the same sentiments that NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero had on Friday when joining the Rich Eisen Show. He said that he would be shocked if the team traded or fired Tomlin after the season, despite the results becoming increasingly diminished with each passing season.
“Put it this way, Rich, I would be shocked if the Steelers fired Mike Tomlin,” Pelissero said on The Rich Eisen Show. “I would certainly be surprised if they would even consider a trade of Mike Tomlin.”
The case to move on from Tomlin is one that makes sense. Pittsburgh has not won a playoff game since 2016, their longest streak in the post-merger era. While Pittsburgh has stayed afloat without a genuinely terrible season, the team never reached heights acceptable to a winning organization. Tomlin has plenty of impressive accolades, but that lack of recent success and plenty of cracks starting to show in the culture in the building raise plenty of questions. Tomlin only has one year left on his contract, but team president Art Rooney II said at training camp to not look into that much.
“We’ve done the contract at different points and people seem to read more into that than is warranted,” Rooney said to Steelers Nation Radio at training camp. “The contract will get done when it needs to get done. As Omar said, I expect Mike to be here a lot longer than the existing contract. We’ll get it done when the time comes.”
The Steelers have only had three head coaches since 1969, and that longstanding practice of coaching stability, which has led the franchise to six Super Bowls in that time, means that pretty much everyone thought Tomlin would be sticking around for a while. While he is likely to stay around, change has to come to the organization in some way.