(Graphic via ESPN's "First Take")
Stephen A. Smith recently on ESPN's "First Take" congratulated Mike Tomlin on his new three-year contract extension that the Steelers gave him on Tuesday. Smith also had a message for the naysayers that doubt Tomlin and think that he's not a top-tier head coach in the NFL.
"I don't want to hear about Mike Tomlin being under pressure, any more than he's normally under," Smith said. "You need to win when you're in Pittsburgh. You need to be a respectable team. I think he needs to get a running game. I think continuing to improve that secondary definitely or getting somebody to rush the passer, all of those things are important. There are elements that he can address, but in the end, there is no question the record speaks for itself -- 145-78-1. That's winning 65 percent of your games. This man does that. He has never had a losing record in 14 years. He is very, very well-deserving of his job."
Tomlin's 145 regular-season wins 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.
With just five minority head coaches currently in the NFL, Stephen A. touched on how much Tomlin has done for other minority coaches with the level of success that he's had.
"In a day and age, a time where we're looking at minorities and lamenting the state of affairs that exist as it pertains to the hiring of minority coaches in the National Football League. I'll be damned if anybody can sit here and tell me that this dude, who happens to be a minority, an African-American, deserves to lose his job any time in the foreseeable future, not with that resume," Smith said. "As far as I'm concerned, he is one of the standards. Congratulations and props to him. He deserves the damn extension as far as I'm concerned. And I'm very, very happy for him and I'm proud of him."
Tomlin is well on his way to someday being in Canton, as he'll for sure pass Bill Cowher's win total of 149 regular-season wins this season, and Cowher will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this August. Like Cowher, Tomlin has two Super Bowl appearances and won one of them, which made him the youngest coach in NFL history to win a Super Bowl at the age of 36. Tomlin is 8-8 in the playoffs but has struggled as of late, winning just three playoff games since the 2011 season, and hasn't won a playoff game since the 2016-2017 season.
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 and Cowher are both in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and Tomlin should someday have a bust in Canton, as well. As Stephen A. said, he is one of the standards.