There’s an unforgiving nature to being an NFL head coach. Success is fleeting, and in an age where 280 characters are the standard for communication, previous triumphs stay in the rearview mirror for less time than it takes a jet to pass through a school zone.
That’s what makes the Pittsburgh Steelers such a remarkable case study. The team might be a playoff longshot this season – +300 in NFL betting – been one of the most successful franchises in NFL history, tied for the most Super Bowl wins, and hasn’t had a losing season since 2003. Part of their success should be attributed to their continuity with off-field personnel, with the team cycling through just three head coaches since 1969.
The most recent of which took the team’s reigns in 2007, leading the Steelers to playoff appearances in ten seasons, including championship glory in 2008. Of course, Mike Tomlin needs no introduction, as his unflappable demeanor has become synonymous with the Steel City.
Mike Tomlin’s Regular Season Record
|2007||10||6||0||1st AFC North|
|2008||12||4||0||1st AFC North|
|2009||9||7||0||2nd AFC North|
|2010||12||4||0||1st AFC North|
|2011||12||4||0||2nd AFC North|
|2012||8||8||0||3rd AFC North|
|2013||8||8||0||2nd AFC North|
|2014||11||5||0||1st AFC North|
|2015||10||6||0||2nd AFC North|
|2016||11||5||0||1st AFC North|
|2017||13||3||0||1st AFC North|
|2018||9||6||1||2nd AFC North|
|2019||8||8||0||2nd AFC North|
|2020||12||4||0||1st AFC North|
|2021||9||7||1||2nd AFC North|
Winning has been the top priority for Tomlin and the Steelers. The third-longest tenured head coach has won at least eight games each season, compiling an impressive 154-85-2 record over the last 15 years. In doing so, the William & Mary graduate set the NFL record for most seasons without a losing record to begin a coaching career.
Defense has been a hallmark of the organization’s success over the years, and that’s remained relatively constant through the Tomlin era. The Steelers have ranked top ten in total defense in 11 of Tomlin’s 15 seasons, at times with a passing resemblance to the Steel Curtain era of the 1970s. However, concerns have mounted over the past couple of years, culminating with the worst defensive performance under Tomlin’s tutelage in 2021.
Mike Tomlin’s Postseason Record
|2007||0||1||AFC Wild Card Game (Lost to Jaguars)|
|2008||3||0||Won Super Bowl XLIII|
|2010||2||1||Super Bowl XLV (Lost to Packers)|
|2011||0||1||AFC Wild Card Game (Lost to Broncos)|
|2014||0||1||AFC Wild Card Game (Lost to Ravens)|
|2015||1||1||AFC Divisional Game (Lost to Broncos)|
|2016||2||1||AFC Championship Game (Lost to Patriots)|
|2017||0||1||AFC Divisional Game (Lost to Jaguars)|
|2020||0||1||AFC Wild Card Game (Lost to Browns)|
|2021||0||1||AFC Wild Card Game (Lost to Chiefs)|
Although he’s effective in the regular season, Tomlin hasn’t taken Pittsburgh on a playoff run since 2016, when they lost to the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game.
Five of his eight playoff wins came within his first four years as a head coach, with his last conference championship win coming back in 2010. Unlike other head coaches, Tomlin has been forgiven for recent bad performances, suffering opening-round losses in the past two seasons.
Getting beat by better teams is one thing, but there’s a lower threshold for underachieving in the postseason.
The 2021 Season
Pittsburgh ended the last campaign with the 24th-ranked total defense, giving up the 13th-most points in the league.
Their rush defense was particularly porous, allowing the most yards and yards per attempt in the NFL while inviting opponents into their end zone by giving up the 12th-most touchdowns.
The 2022 Season
Tomlin honed his coaching skills on the defensive side of the ball, breaking into the league as a defensive backs coach before transitioning to defensive coordinator with the Minnesota Vikings. With a rookie quarterback potentially under center to start the season, their defense will need to be sharp if Tomlin hopes to maintain his immaculate record.
However, looking at Tomlin’s chances through the betting lens suggests that his winning streak will end in 2022. The Steelers’ win total heading into this season is set at a modest 7.5. At one point, the OVER was priced at -120; however, it has been bought down to -110, implying that sharp money is coming in on the UNDER.
The AFC North isn’t the cakewalk it once was. The Cincinnati Bengals are AFC Champions, while the Baltimore Ravens and Cleveland Browns have two of the best quarterbacks in the league, coupled with imposing defenses. Granted, there are complexities to each team’s circumstances, but it’s a minefield that a rookie quarterback will have difficulty navigating.
Even though Tomlin has a laundry list of accomplishments to point to, Steelers fans won’t be wiping away any tears as they peer over their shoulders, still racing towards the horizon.
Should Tomlin be on the NFL hot seat entering 2022?
NFL Betting Odds at BetMGM
BetMGM is the premier destination for NFL betting odds throughout the season.
Whether you’re a new bettor checking out weekly spreads, a casual fan tracking live NFL betting odds, or a longtime football building moneyline parlays, and more there’s something for everyone at the best online sportsbook.
Check out the sportsbook this season to get closer to the action on the field!