(Photo by Robert B. Stanton/Getty Images)
Bill Cowher replaced a Hall of Famer in Chuck Noll when he was hired in 1992, and Mike Tomlin did the same when he was hired in 2007, as Bill Cowher had a Hall of Fame career and will be enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this Saturday. And given his current resume, it wouldn't be surprising if Tomlin lands in Canton someday, as well.
During his press conference with the media today, Tomlin was asked about his relationship with Cowher.
"Our interactions over the years have always been very warm," Tomlin said. "I've always been appreciative of that. You can feel his support of us. He has always given me space to do the things that the job requires.
"Anybody that's held jobs like this understands it's somewhat lonely and that's just the nature of it. Those that have done it are respectful of that and allow people to do what it is they need to do. I have been really appreciative of our relationship and have always felt his support."
Tomlin said he knew all about Cowher when he got hired and all that he accomplished during his tenure in Pittsburgh.
"I was very aware of what he was able to accomplish and respectful of it," Tomlin said. "I realized the monumental challenge it was going to be to hold up the standard."
Tomlin is entering his 15th season as the Steelers' head coach, and he hasn't had a losing season yet, so it's safe to say that he's upheld the standard in Pittsburgh. Also, an Iron City beer that Cowher left for Tomlin in his refrigerator at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex remains there. Tomlin plans on leaving the Iron City Beer for his replacement, for whenever that time comes.
"It's still in there," Tomlin said with a smile. "I am going to leave that for the next guy."