NFL 2018: Should Mike Tomlin and the Pittsburgh Steelers Still Be a Thing?

miketomlin

Mike Tomlin and the Pittsburgh Steelers have been a thing since 2007.   In the regular season he has led the Steelers to a 116-60 career record.  His record in postseason is 8-7. He has been a head coach for 10 years, 11 if he lasts through the  2018 season, which seems plausible.  The Steelers organization has had three head coaches in the past 49 years.  So you see the Steelers organization isn’t one to break up with their head coaches.  But should they be quicker to replace the man in charge?

As with any good break-up dilemma, it is good to show the pros and cons.  So lets do it:

Pros: 

Tomlin has taken the Steelers to the Superbowl and has experienced postseason success.

Cons:

That was Super Bowl XLIII.  And the last time the Steelers were AFC champions was 2010.

Pros:

Regardless of the on field “issues” he hasn’t lost the locker room.

Cons:

There was that video of locker room chat posted by Antonio Brown.  So not only was Brown not listening to the coach’s post game discourse but he was blasting it live on FaceBook.  Coach losing the attention of his players?

Pros:

His decision on his coaches:

Bruce Arians: In 2011 the  Steelers chose not to have Arians come back as the team’s offensive coordinator.  Instead he was fired/retired by the Steelers.  Was it Tomlin’s decision or a decision from someone other than Tomlin?  Tomlin is the head coach.  So how did that work-out?

Arians was hired as offensive coordinator for the Indianapolis Colts.  And then he went on to win NFL Coach of the Year after he took over head coaching duties for Chuck Pagano when he began treatment for leukemia.

In 2013 he won the job as head coach for the Arizona Cardinals.  He then won coach of the year again in 2014, as head coach of the Cardinals.

Dick LeBeau: “I am resigning this position, not retiring. The need for the statement in 2015, was in response to the whispers that LeBeau was being pushed out of the Steelers’ organization.  Sort of like 2012, and Arians?

A month later LeBeau was hired as assistant head coach/defensive coach for the Tennessee Titans.  In 2016, LeBeau was named assistant head coach/defensive coordinator for the Titans.

Okay so let’s get the pros and cons out of the past and into the present:

2017 Steelers offense was eighth in scoring and 20th in rushing yards.  The defense ranked 28th in red zone efficiency, while allowing 4.4 yards per rush.

And as for his decision making?

New England Patriots v Pittsburgh Steelers (12/17)  Patriots 27-Steelers 24

In a game that would determine which team would get first-round bye and clinch home field advantage for the playoffs there were some interesting decisions made on the Steelers’ sideline.

Let’s just go to 0:21 seconds left in the game.  The Steelers are third-and-goal from the New England seven yard line.  Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger signals for a spike.  Then, Roethlisberger looks to his outside receivers and starts tapping his helmet.  He snaps the ball.  Only Eli Rodgers seems to have gotten the message, running an actual route.  Roethlisberger throws the ball towards a well covered Rodgers.  The ball is tipped by Patriots Eric Rowe and swallowed up by Patriots’ Duron Harmon.  Game….set….and match.

So instead of relying on kicker Chris Boswell to kick a field goal and send the game into overtime, AT HOME, the Steelers lose in memorable fashion.

Jacksonville Jaguars v Pittsburgh Steelers (1/14/2018)  Jaguars 45-Steelers 42

With 2:18 left in the fourth quarter, the Steelers have two time outs and a two minute warning.  Kick it deep right?  Not if you are Mike Tomlin.  The play… try an onside kick.  Now Boswell is a Pro-Bowl kicker, but his stats for onside kicking?  Let’s just say in two attempts he has not had a successful onside kick while in the pros.

The Steelers of course lost the game and offensive coordinator Todd Haley lost his job.

Questionable on-field decisions, questionable personnel decisions and still the man in charge remains steadfastly at the helm.

Given their propensity for holding onto head coaches even when the spark has diminished, it is unlikely that Tomlin will be out anytime soon.  But should he be?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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