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Is Mike Tomlin on the Hot Seat?

Mike Tomlin has one of the NFL’s most impressive résumés. In 12 years as the Pittsburgh Steelers head coach, he has been to two Super Bowls, won one, has 8 seasons with 10+ wins, and has never had a losing season in his career. However, he finds his ass firmly on the hot seat as the Steelers potentially miss the playoffs for the first time since 2013.

The Steelers are 8-6-1 heading into Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals and will miss the playoffs with either a loss or a Baltimore win. That’s not a great look for a team loaded with talent. The Steelers have two 1,000+ yard receivers, a Pro Bowl running back, and Big Ben is playing better than he ever has. The defense is third in the league with 48 sacks. The secondary has struggled at times, but still has play-makers such as Joe Haden.

The blame for the Steelers disappointing season rests firmly on Tomlin’s shoulders. Look no further than last week to see his poor decision-making. Tomlin called a fake punt from his own 42 on 4th & 5 while up 4 points with 4:12 left on the clock in the 4th quarter. Obviously, that didn’t work out and Drew Brees scored the winning TD shortly after.

There should be no debate that this was a horrendous call. If you punt the ball, the Saints would be pinned deep and one stop could win the game. Even if the Steelers converted, they were still 30 yards from field goal range to extend the lead and would still leave plenty of time on the clock for Drew Brees anyway.

Tomlin said he liked the call because even if they didn’t convert and the Saints scored, the Steelers would have the ball last. So Tomlin’s worst case scenario putting his team down late in the 4th quarter. Bold move Cotton, but it didn’t pay off. He put the team in a situation to lose and they did. Go figure.

One game does not define a season though. Tomlin has been mediocre all season. Take this boneheaded mistake in his inexcusable loss to Oakland for example:

For those wondering at home, Oakland scored and Pittsburgh had no time to march down the field. An NFL coach should not be mismanaging the clock in that situation. He manages his challenges even more poorly, going 0 for his last 7 dating all the way back to 2016.

The window for this Steelers team is closing, and if they want to make a run at a Lombardi Trophy they need a change at head coach. Tomlin has consistently been outcoached in the playoffs since his last Super Bowl appearance in 2010. Tomlin only has three playoff wins in that span, beating the Bengals, the Matt Moore Dolphins, and the Chiefs. Against better competition, such as the Patriots or last years Jaguars, Tomlin has been outdueled.

The most damning evidence may be that Tomlin has lost the support of a fan base known to value stability in their franchise. 69% (nice) of Steelers fans think Tomlin is about to lose his job.

So Tomlin may come forward and say he isn’t worried about his job, but he certainly should be.


Photo: Pittsburgh Post Gazette

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