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Rich Eisen Thinks Mike Tomlin Is One of the Best, Deserves More Respect



Pittsburgh Steelers Mike Tomlin
Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin at the team's OTAs, May 28, 2024 - Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

Rich Eisen has been a staunch supporter of Mike Tomlin over the years. He finds it folly that there’s a section of the Steelers fanbase that wants Tomlin out of Pittsburgh.

The often cited complaint is that Tomlin hasn’t won a playoff game in seven years. It’s the longest streak without a playoff win for the franchise since pre-1972. It’s a valid concern, but Eisen thinks Steelers fans should be careful what they wish for. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

“If Mike Tomlin didn’t get this three-year contract extension, he would be somebody else’s coach within five minutes. I’m telling y’all, he is one of the best,” Eisen said in reaction to the Steelers signing Tomlin to a three-year contract extension on Monday.

Tomlin holds the NFL record for most consecutive non-losing seasons to begin a coaching career with 17. With Tomlin, the Steelers are going to at least be competitive. The Steelers have played in only one game over the last 17 years where they were eliminated from playoff contention (Week 17 in 2012 against the Cleveland Browns).

Tomlin’s ability to relate to his players and get the most out of them is his greatest attribute. Antonio Brown recently said he’s like a father figure to him. A slew of players congratulated Tomlin on social media shortly after the news broke that he signed a three-year extension.

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin during rookie minicamp on May 10, 2024. — Steelers Now/Ed Thompson

That mutual respect goes a long way. There’s a lot of coaches in the NFL that players absolutely hate playing for. The players respect and play hard for Tomlin. The rails don’t go off under his leadership. I mean, he 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.

Here are the Steelers’ point differentials over the last three seasons — 2023 (-20), 2022 (-38) and 2021 (-55). Tomlin somehow led the Steelers to three winning seasons and two playoff appearances in that time frame. The Steelers could have easily had a losing season in all three of those years.

“I think he’s one of the best. You could do a whole lot worse if you want to use the other flip side of it,” Eisen said. “There’s a lot to be said about his continuity. I love it. I do love it.”

The Steelers have had only three head coaches since 1969 — Chuck Noll, Bill Cowher and Tomlin. It’s the fewest head coaches among active NFL franchises during that span. The Rooneys value consistency and stability. Tomlin provides that.