Steelers fans like to harp on Mike Tomlin for being unprepared following a bye week, but his record as Pittsburgh’s head coach after a week off might surprise you.
After having the week off, I have noticed a lot of negative comments pertaining to Mike Tomlin as the Pittsburgh Steelers head into their Week 10 matchup against the New Orleans Saints. Numerous fans took to social media to express their frustration with Tomlin’s unpreparedness following a bye Week.
While I think that there are certainly times when Tomlin’s team doesn’t show up to play, I wasn’t convinced that this was the case following a bye. From my memory, the Steelers have actually done pretty well after having the week off. This led me to do some digging.
After shuffling through ESPN’s schedule archives, I decided to chart each team the Pittsburgh Steelers have faced following the bye week since Mike Tomlin has been the head coach in 2007. I examined the results of the game, the opponent, and the final outcome.
In doing so, I found that the narrative doesn’t match the results by any stretch of the imagination. This actually blew my mind a bit. Despite being portrayed as a head coach who doesn’t take advantage of added preparation time, Mike Tomlin has actually been pretty remarkable following the bye week.
Steelers fans need to throw away false narrative
Mike Tomlin hasn’t been a perfect coach. There are a lot of things that I wish he would do better. As a defensive-minded HC, I don’t think he helps one of the league’s worst offenses, and his coaching hires have been completely unspectacular as of late. However, I have to give credit where credit is due: Tomlin has been good after the bye.
Statistically, this is some pretty impressive stuff. Since joining the Steelers as the head coach way back in 2007, Tomlin is 11-4 all-time following a bye week. This certainly doesn’t fit with the narrative we so often see. Not only that, But Tomlin’s team wins by an average of exactly seven points per game in these contests. This is no easy feat to accomplish on the regular — regardless of which opponent you are matched up against.
In his most recent seasons, Tomlin has won five straight games following the bye week dating back to the 2017 season. Many fans will rush to give Ben Roethlisberger or Pittsburgh’s defense all the credit, but during his tenure, Tomlin has coached some pretty poor defenses and has been without Roethlisberger for several of these contests.
Obviously, this is a whole new Pittsburgh Steelers team moving forward. The results of the season have been rather unspectacular so far, so there’s reason to believe the trend following bye weeks could change in this new era. However, fans need to dump that stigma that Mike Tomlin has been a horrible coach following the bye week. Statistics show that this simply has not been true.
For more on this topic, here’s a quick video breakdown on the Still Curtain YouTube channel.