Things change quickly in the sport of football. A few wins in a row, and the team is riding high. Three consecutive, ugly losses are enough to send that same squad to the pit of despair. The Pittsburgh Steelers are a prime example — and head coach Mike Tomlin is witnessing it firsthand.
The Pittsburgh Steelers Fall To .500 After Hot Start
Think back to Thanksgiving weekend. The Steelers defeated their divisional rivals, the Cincinnati Bengals, boosting their record to 7-4. With that success came droves of praise from the media toward Pittsburgh — players and Tomlin himself, including Coach of the Year hype.
Deploying a quarterback with obvious limitations, the Steelers won anyway. The defense carried most of the weight while the offense would show signs of life every once in a while. But even after firing offensive coordinator Matt Canada, the Kenny Pickett-led unit has underperformed as a whole.
It got worse when Pickett was dealt an injury, sidelining him and placing Mitchell Trubisky in the driver’s seat at quarterback. The former No. 2 overall pick is a backup for a reason, and he’s consistently shown why since taking the reins. Pittsburgh even benched Trubisky with under a minute remaining vs. the Colts.
In a 30-13 beatdown via Indianapolis, the Steelers allowed 30 unanswered points after charging out to a quick two-score lead. The offense couldn’t get anything going in the second half — credit to the Colts defense for that. The ineptitude on offense put too much strain on the Pittsburgh defense Saturday afternoon.
Mike Tomlin Fired? According To Some Fans, It’s An Option Worth Considering
Following the defeat, a rare narrative around Mike Tomlin began surfacing. Some fans, surely a small percentage, were actually calling for the firing of Tomlin. Yes, the head coach with a .500-or-better record for each of the past 16 seasons. The same one with a sparkling career record of 170-100-2 in his career. Firing him would be the over-correction of the century if you ask me.
Sure, Tomlin’s one Super Bowl ring, which came way back in 2008, can read as underwhelming, especially considering how often his team is in playoff contention. However, that ignores the fact that lesser coaches wouldn’t even have the team within sniffing distance of the postseason.
From dragging the corpse of Ben Roethlisberger for his last few seasons to the front office giving Kenny Pickett the keys to the franchise, Tomlin hasn’t had elite quarterback play in quite some time. In a league chock full of talent at the position, the Steelers regularly play from behind in this area.
Going further, Tomlin has built a juggernaut on defense and continues to get the most out of his players on that side of the ball. T.J. Watt, Cameron Heyward, and Minkah Fitzpatrick all flex an All-Pro pedigree while youngsters like Joey Porter Jr. and Keeanu Benton show flashes of elite play as well.
Firing Mike Tomlin would only exacerbate the current issues on the roster while creating a slew of more problems in the process. One thing fans don’t consider when calling for a coach's firing is this: Who can the Steelers find that is better than Tomlin?
Firing Tomlin Would Be A Massive Mistake For The Steelers
It’s not to say an upgrade doesn’t exist, or that a change of scenery isn’t necessary at times, but this is not that time for Pittsburgh. Tomlin is up there with Bill Belichick as the longest-tenured and most-respected coach in the NFL — cutting ties with him is a mistake that could be costly for years to come.
Unlike Belichick, Tomlin is a full 20 years younger. There’s still plenty left in the tank. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side. Nearly every single franchise in the NFL would happily take Tomlin leading the way — be careful what you wish for Steelers fans.
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