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Reporter Thinks Steelers Fans Need to Be Careful What They Wish for

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Steelers HC Mike Tomlin

There were rumblings from a portion of the fanbase on Monday when the Pittsburgh Steelers signed Mike Tomlin to a three-year contract extension. Tomlin has no losing seasons in 17 years as head coach, but he also hasn’t led the Steelers to a playoff win in seven years. To say the least, the latter has Steelers Nation frustrated.

Judy Battista of NFL Network doesn’t get all the disdain directed at Tomlin, however. She thinks he’s one of the best coaches in the NFL.

“Be careful what you wish for,” Battista warned Steelers fans on The Insiders. “There are an awful lot of organizations in the NFL that would take the level of success that Mike Tomlin has had, that the Pittsburgh Steelers have had. And again, he’s coming off what is arguably one of his best coaching seasons.”

Mike Tomlin

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin during an OTAs practice on May 21, 2024. — Steelers Now/ Ed Thompson

Tomlin led the Steelers to a 10-7 record and wild-card playoff appearance last season with Kenny Pickett, Mitch Trubisky and Mason Rudolph as his quarterbacks. The trio combined for 13 touchdowns passes in 2023. The Steelers’ quarterbacks tossed a league-low 12 touchdowns the year prior. Despite the poor QB play, the Steelers still had a winning record in both seasons.

Tomlin also put on a coaching clinic in 2019 when Rudolph and undrafted rookie Devlin “Duck” Hodges were his quarterbacks for the majority of the season after Ben Roethlisberger blew out his elbow in Week 2. The Steelers finished 8-8 and nearly made the playoffs.

“He is going to be in the job for two decades-plus by the time this contract ends, but players still relate to him,” Battista said. “He can still motivate players, and there’s no better example of that than last season when they had just a terrible quarterback situation.”

Battista is spot-on that players still relate to Tomlin.  A bunch of players congratulated him on social media shortly after the news broke that he signed a three-year extension. Antonio Brown recently said Tomlin’s like a father figure to him. Le’Veon Bell said Tomlin’s the “best in the world.”

The players have profound respect for Mike Tomlin. Not only as a coach but as a person, too. Free agents and players in the draft process constantly rave about Tomlin. He’s a head coach that players want to play for. Micah Parsons even recently said as much. If he ever leaves the Dallas Cowboys, he’ll want to come back to Pennsylvania and play for the Steelers because of Tomlin.

Like any coach, Tomlin isn’t perfect, but Steelers fans might not realize just how good they have it with him. It could be a lot worse.