Pretty much since the day after Mike Tomlin won his first Super Bowl the debate over who was the better Steelers coach between he and Bill Cowher has been raging. Each one has had great success manning the sidelines for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Both have one win, and one loss in the Super Bowl. Both also have been accused of underachieving at times during their careers. Let’s make the case for both, then come to our conclusion once and for all:
The fact that Mike Tomlin has never had a losing is used so much now it may have become almost devalued in some eyes. The fact is however that this is a remarkable achievement. His resume includes three visits to the AFC Championship game, two AFC Championships, and one Super Bowl. Tomlin has guided his teams to the playoffs in 9 of his 15 seasons with the club. Tomlin’s total post season record of 8-8, and his overall winning percentage is .643 (152-84-2). Mike Tomlin has one coach of the year trophy to add to his super impressive resume. With this kind of success, you can make a pretty good argument for Tomlin being the better Steelers coach.
Bill Cowher did the near impossible by replacing the legendary Chuck Noll, and carving out his own successful career. He took over a middling team who had only one playoff appearance in it’s last seven seasons. Cowher went 11-5 in his first season, and rattled off six straight playoff appearances. Overall Bill Cowher made the playoffs 10 out of 15 seasons, with six trips to the AFC Championship game. He, like Tomlin, also went one and one in the Super Bowl. Cowher went 12-9 total in the post season, and his overall winning percentage is .623 (149-90-1). He also has one coach of the year award in his trophy case.
Both coaches have nearly identical careers, each with pros and cons that do little to separate the two. What sets them apart in our eyes is one simple factor, Ben Roethlisberger. Mike Tomlin has coached his entire career with a franchise quarterback. Bill Cowher did not have that luxury until the last few years of his reign in Pittsburgh. To accomplish what he did with the likes of Neil O’Donnell, Kordell Stewart, and Tommy Maddox is simply remarkable. Cowher’ s record with Ben Roethlisberger is an incredible 34-15 in just three seasons. That included playoffs in two of the three years, and a Super Bowl title. All this was easily before Roethlisberger was anywhere near his prime as well.
Mike Tomlin has struggled without a franchise quarterback over the last few seasons. As Ben Roethlisberger’s play continues to deteriorate, it has begun to expose some of Tomlin’s weaknesses. Many have even speculated if it may be time for the team to move on from their head coach, including us. It’s time for the Steelers to move on from Mike Tomlin
When comparing two closely matched coaches, the quarterback is the clear tie-breaker. Bill Cowher’s resume looks that much better when considering all the poor quarterback play he had to overcome through most of his career. Both he and Tomlin are both excellent head football coaches without question. At the end of the day when trying to determine the better Steelers coach, its Bill Cowher hands down in our opinion.
Feel free to leave comments on who you would consider the best. We would be very interested in the feedback.