Will Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin one day have his bust enshrined at the Pro Football Hall of Fame?
Tomlin, 51, doesn’t seem to be nearing retirement. Two current NFL head coaches will be 70 this season, and another four are in their sixties, meaning that Tomlin has plenty of years ahead of him if he wishes to continue coaching.
But his resume when it comes to the Pro Football Hall of Fame is already worthy in many ways.
Tomlin is 16th in NFL history with 163 wins, and he’s 13th in the Super Bowl era. Of coaches with at least 150 wins, he’s seventh all-time in winning percentage (.636) and fourth in the modern era.
Almost all of the coaches that rank higher than Tomlin on those lists have already been enshrined in Canton, Ohio, and the ones that haven’t nearly universally lack Tomlin’s Super Bowl title.
Not only will Tomlin be compared to history when considered for enshrinement, he will also be compared to his peers. Among active NFL head coaches, only Andy Reid and Bill Belichick have more wins, more Super Bowls, or more conference championships.
Of the coaches that have won more games than Tomlin and have also won at least one Super Bowl, all except Tom Coughlin and Mike Shanahan are in the Hall of Fame. They both have 170 career wins, a number that Tomlin figures to pass long before his retirement.
A recent article by The 33rd Team ranked Tomlin in the second tear of current coaches, in terms of their likelihood of making it to Canton one day. That list considered Belichick and Reid locks, with Tomlin in the second tier, along with Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll, new Denver Broncos head coach Sean Payton and Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh.
The other active coaches, listed as hopefuls, were Mike McCarthy, Sean McDermott, Sean McVay, Doug Pederson, Ron Rivera and Kyle Shanahan.
In many ways, Tomlin’s work may already be done. His resume, with one Super Bowl win, another AFC title and 163 regular-season victories, already has surpassed his predecessor Bill Cowher, Tony Dungy and Dick Vermeil — all recent Hall of Fame inductees. But there are others, such as Coughlin, Shanahan and Mike Holmgren that seemingly have a resume at or beyond that level that have not yet been invited.
Tomlin has more in his arsenal, though. In addition to his basic resume, there’s also the historic nature of Tomlin as the second-youngest coach to win a Super Bowl, the second Black coach to win a Super Bowl, and his NFL-longest streak of non-losing seasons to start his career, it seems very likely that Tomlin will one day get a knock on his door with an emissary from the Hall of Fame. He’s also a popular an engaging figure, well-liked and respected throughout the sport, something that will go a long way when votes put pen to paper.
Tomlin isn’t done yet, so there’s no reason to rush to judgement. But he seems to be a pretty sure thing to get to Canton some day.