Mike Tomlin and the Pittsburgh Steelers imploded at the end of the season, but he’s far from the actual problem.
Six weeks ago, the Pittsburgh Steelers were perfect 11-0. and talk of a perfect season ending with a Super Bowl win was very much in the conversation. Since then, the Steelers imploded by finishing the season 1-5 debacle and exiting the playoffs in the Wild Card round following an 11-point loss to the Cleveland Browns.
To say the bottom fell out would be a tremendous understatement.
Tomlin shouldn’t be spared blame for the Steelers epic collapse. His decision to punt on fourth-and-1 from the 46 in the fourth quarter all but halted the team’s momentum for a comeback and the way the wheels came off at the end of the season is a less than stellar look.
He’s a great coach, but this one is on Mike Tomlin. His team seems flat and unprepared and weak.
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) January 11, 2021
But the punishment for Tomlin’s failure shouldn’t be as severe as some Steelers fans might initially want. He’s far from the problem in the Steel City. In reality, the loss falls on Ben Roethlisberger’s shoulders. As do many across the final stretch of the 2020 season.
Ben Roethlisberger’s time has come to an end
There’s two sides to every story just like there are two halves in a game. Roethlisberger’s three-interception first-half debacle just a hole too deep for the Steelers to regroup. Meanwhile, the run game held to 52 yards on the night, with only James Conner tallying more than 30.
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) January 11, 2021
Roethlisberger threw 68 times on the night. Sure, he had over 500 yards alone and four touchdowns. He also was responsible for four of the team’s five turnovers.
The Steelers have a tough call to make. The firing of Randy Fichtner seems inevitable, but what does the future hold for Big Ben?
Damned if he stays, damned if he leaves. That’s the Steelers reality Monday morning when talking on the 38-year-old quarterback.
Tomlin, though, should have no questions asked about his future. Since being hired in 2007, Tomlin has never suffered a losing season. He’s made the postseason nine of the 14 seasons with the franchise, winning the AFC North on seven different occasions.
In a universe where the Steelers fire Tomlin, it’s easier to list the teams that wouldn’t fire their head coach in order to hire Tomlin. Aside from Andy Reid, Bill Belichick, and Sean Payton, all bets are off if Tomlin is somehow made available for teams to hire.
The Steelers have a ton of questions heading into the offseason, and there’s a decent chance not all of them get answered. But one thing is certain: Mike Tomlin is the steady hand needed to guide the ship into whatever the future holds.