Steelers could go 5 straight seasons without a playoff win, which hasn't happened since before 1972
Updated: Feb 4, 2021
(Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
Since being named the Steelers head coach in 2007, Mike Tomlin has a regular-season record of 145-78-1 (.650) and has never had a losing season. Tomlin is tied with Marty Schottenheimer for the most consecutive seasons to not have a losing record to start an NFL coaching career, which is 14 and an NFL record. Schottenheimer had 14 consecutive non-losing seasons with the Chiefs from 1989-1998.
Tomlin has a pedestrian 8-8 record in the playoffs and has not been successful as of late in the postseason. Since the 2011 season, the Steelers are 3-6 in the playoffs and they haven't won a playoff game since their 18-16 win over the Chiefs in the 2016 divisional-round game. The Steelers last two playoff losses have come embarrassingly and both occurred at Heinz Field -- a 45-42 loss to the Jaguars in the 2017 divisional-round game where Jacksonville took a 21-0 lead early in the second quarter and then a 48-37 loss to the Browns in the 2020 wild-card game where the Steelers turned the ball over four times and the Browns got out to a 28-0 lead in the first quarter.
In 2021, Tomlin could surpass Schottenheimer and have 15 consecutive seasons without a losing season, but the significance of the accomplishment won't mean much if the Steelers don't start winning in the playoffs.
Without a playoff win in 2021, it would be five straight seasons without a playoff win for the Steelers, which hasn't been done since before the 1972 season. The Immaculate Extension game in 1972 was the first time the Steelers ever won a playoff game in franchise history. Prior to that, the Steelers appeared in just one playoff game since the birth of the franchise in 1933.
Since 1972, the Steelers have gone four straight seasons without a playoff win on five occasions -- (1980-1983), (1985-1988), (1990-1993) (2011-2014) and (2017-2020), which could be extended to five straight seasons if the Steelers don't win a playoff game in the 2021 season.
The Steelers have the toughest schedule in the league in 2021 based on their opponents' combined record of 143-111-2 (.563) in 2020. It includes nine games against 2020 playoff teams, counting the Browns and Ravens twice. They also have tough road games at Kansas City, Green Bay and Buffalo.
Steelers president Art Rooney II had a one-on-one interview with Bob Pompeani of KDKA on Wednesday and was asked about extending Mike Tomlin's contract this offseason and his assessment on Tomlin's performance in 2020.
“I think bottom line is we want him to be our coach into the future,” Rooney said of Tomlin. “He has one of the best track records in the league. Those playoff wins will come. I think he keeps putting us in the position to have the opportunity to be in the postseason. I think as long as those opportunities keep coming we'll eventually have the success that we want to have in the postseason."
If the Steelers don't start getting those playoff wins or any playoff win for that matter in 2021, they'll be in unfamiliar territory with five consecutive seasons without a playoff win.