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Cowherd: 'Players respect Tomlin. He's an alpha. He's got a presence.'

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

The Steelers signed Mike Tomlin to a three-year contract extension last week, which will go through the 2024 season. If Tomlin completes his extension, it would mean that the Steelers would have just three head coaches in 56 years. Tomlin is on track of joining his predecessors in Chuck Noll and Bill Cowher in Canton someday. Just look at his numbers.

Tomlin is heading into his 15th year as the Steelers head coach and has a regular-season record of 145-78-1 (.650). He'll for sure surpass Bill Cowher's win total of 149 regular-season wins this season, and Cowher was the Steelers head coach for 15 seasons (1992-2006). With the three-year extension and the league now adding a 17-game schedule, Tomlin might even surpass Chuck Noll's 193 regular-season win total when it's all set and done. Noll was the Steelers head coach for 23 seasons (1969-1991).

Tomlin's 145 regular-season wins also are tied for 21st overall in NFL history and are third-most among active NFL head coaches. Tomlin joined Marty Schottenheimer this past season as the only two head coaches in NFL history to have 14 consecutive non-losing seasons to begin their NFL careers. Tomlin is also the winningest minority head coach in NFL history.

Last week, Colin Cowherd on The Herd said it took him a while to figure out Tomlin and said that most successful coaches have something that defines them when they're in the middle of a losing streak where players can trust them.

"For Pete Carroll, it's his energy. Sean Payton, his intensity -- it's like nobody else," Cowherd said. "Bill Walsh, Bill Belichick, it's this sort of academic lean, you always felt they were smarter than everybody that they coached against. Andy Reid, it's creativity. And Mike Tomlin, it's a presence. Mike's got a presence. That's why he's one of the few NFL coaches I think can coach at the college football level. He would walk in, he'd be a great recruiter."

Cowherd said he really noticed how special Tomlin was when the Steelers went 8-8 with Ben Roethlisberger playing all but six quarters in 2019 after suffering a season-ending elbow injury. The Steelers had to lean on the likes of Mason Rudolph and Devlin "Duck" Hodges as the starting quarterbacks in 2019 and they were still competing for a playoff spot.

"He's 18-15 without Big Ben, and that is something," Cowherd said of Tomlin. "Kyle Shanahan cannot win football games without Jimmy Garoppolo. How is (Bill) Belichick without (Tom) Brady? He has a winning record with Mason Rudolph and Landry Jones and Dennis Dixon. And a couple of years ago you had a lot of drama and Big Ben's not playing well and he's aging and they can't run and the wheels are coming off, and Mike Tomlin is the duct tape.

"Listen, this league is hard. Pete Carroll's been fired twice, and he's going to be a Hall of Famer. Tom Coughlin his last four years, couldn't win any games with a Hall of Fame quarterback Eli Manning. It's a hard league to win and when you go to those losing streaks, you can lose games, you can't lose a locker room. Tomlin never loses a locker room. Sean Payton, Pete Carroll, never lose a locker room. You've got to have something about you. And players respect Tomlin. He's an alpha. He's got a presence. He believes in himself. And you can just feel it at the podium, he's blunt, he's brutal, he's honest, he holds himself accountable. And that believability, that bluntness, that presence, is why he's 18-15 without a Hall of Fame quarterback. Tom Coughlin could not win games, and he's going to the Hall of Fame. Sean Payton, once they paid Drew Brees too much had losing records. Big Ben's not taking a lot of pay cuts. Mike Tomlin's never had a losing record."

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