It was October 1st, fresh off a dismal performance versus the division rival Baltimore Ravens. The Steelers were 1-2-1, and tied for last place in the AFC North. Le’veon Bell was nowhere to be found, and the Antonio Brown drama was in full effect. That’s when the chatter started about the possibility that Mike Tomlin had finally lost this team. After all, who could blame him if this team finally flew of the rails. There isn’t another coach in the National Football League who has had to deal with more off the field drama. Admittedly, I was one of those people who thought that all this had finally caught up with Mike Tomlin. That even he couldn’t guide this team back on track in 2018.
Then it happened. Four straight wins, including three divisional games, have put the Steelers back in control of the AFC North. It’s as if the first four games never happened. Does anybody even remember the AB drama, or care where Le’Veon is? The Kansas City debacle seems like a distant memory now, as the defense actually appears to be relevant again. There aren’t many coaches on this planet who could guide a team back from near disaster the way Mike Tomlin has. This team could have easily suffered the same fate of say a team like the New York Giants. A talented team with a veteran quarterback that got off to a slow start. The Giants never recovered, and now are in the running for the number one overall pick. It happens all the time. A slow start, a little controversy, weak coaching, and boom the season is over before it really got going. Not here in Pittsburgh, Tomlin simply would not allow it.
Now Mike Tomlin is not a coach without flaws. His attention to detail, game planning, and overall discipline for the team can be criticized. It could be argued that this collection of talent has greatly underachieved over the past five years as well. Tomlin will always have his detractors until he wins that elusive second Super Bowl. All that said, there is no question Tomlin is a top five coach in this league. This dramatic turn around for the Pittsburgh Steelers is just further proof of that. All those people calling for Tomlin’s head after week four now owe him an apology. Yours truly included.