Tomlin on passing Dungy as winningest Black head coach in NFL history: 'He's still the legend to me'
(Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
When the Steelers beat the Baltimore Ravens in Week 8, Mike Tomlin captured his 140th career regular-season win, breaking a tie with Tony Dungy for the most wins by a Black head coach in NFL history. Tomlin was hired as the Buccaneers' defensive backs coach in 2001 during what would be Dungy's last season in Tampa Bay, and Tomlin was asked about what he learned from Dungy at his press conference in the week leading up to the game against Baltimore.
"We don’t have enough time to chronicle the things I learned from Coach (Dungy) in a very short period of time, I might add," Tomlin said on Oct. 27. "I only worked for him for one season just his approach to business, the thoroughness, the clean communication particularly in difficult times, the clarity of thought, his commitment to a style of play and a plan are all things I have really held onto over the years and think about often."
Jay Glazer did a virtual interview with Tomlin last week, which aired on Fox's NFL pregame show this past Sunday, and Glazer asked Tomlin about surpassing his mentor as the winningest African-American head coach in NFL history.
"About every couple of years somebody surpasses Jim Brown's career rushing total, but they're still not Jim Brown," Tomlin said. "That's how I feel about me and Tony Dungy, man. He's Jim Brown, and I'm not. I may have had an opportunity to surpass his total, but he's still the legend to me."
Also with the win over the Dallas Cowboys in Week 9, Tomlin secured his 14th straight non-losing season, which tied an NFL record with Marty Schottenheimer for the most consecutive seasons to not have a losing record to start an NFL coaching career. Glazer told Tomlin that he doesn't think he gets enough credit for never having a losing season.
"I don't know that I want credit for it, you know? That's like saying you're competent every year," Tomlin responded to Glazer. "When I get out of my car in training camp in July, I'm not thinking about being competent, man, I'm thinking about bringing that Lombardi (Trophy) home."
Tomlin has a career regular-season record of 142-74-1 and is 8-7 in the playoffs with two Super Bowl appearances, winning one and losing the other. With the Steelers out to a 9-0 start this season and the lone unbeaten team remaining in the league, there's a good possibility that Tomlin could lead the Steelers to their third Super Bowl appearance under him.
Tomlin also told Glazer an interesting story about the day he was hired by Dan Rooney on Jan. 22, 2007, as the head coach for the Steelers. "The thing that I remember most about that day, and it's funny, Mr. and Mrs. Rooney picked my wife and I up and took us to dinner. I don't know what we're anticipating, maybe a car service or something of that nature. "Mr. and Mrs. Rooney were in this two-door sedan, this Buick. That just told you everything you needed to know about them, just down-to-earth people. My wife loved it. Mrs. Rooney got out of the passenger seat, she lifted the seat up and she said, 'Hey, Kiya and I will get in the back and let you boys talk upfront.'"
You can listen to Glazer's entire interview with Tomlin here.