Mike Tomlin's worst mistake should have been enough for Steelers to move on

This critical mistake from Coach Tomlin should have been the kick in the pants the Steelers needed to find a new head coach.
Pittsburgh Steelers v Cleveland Browns
Pittsburgh Steelers v Cleveland Browns / Jason Miller/GettyImages

We all know the most incriminating stat regarding Mike Tomlin and the Pittsburgh Steelers. This once prestigious organization has gone seven straight years without a playoff win, and things have gotten stale.

Because of this, it wasn't hard to see why an irritated fan base was split when it came to the decision to give Tomlin a three-year contract extension. The long-time head coach is entering his 18th season with the team and was previously under contract through 2024. Now he will remain the head coach of the Steelers until at least 2027.

Instead of putting the pressure on the future Hall of Fame head coach in a do-or-die season, team president Art Rooney II was quick to sign everyone up for three more years of Tomlin (and we're praying it's not three more years of mediocrity).

But what decisions led to this utter lack of postseason success?

While Tomlin is a brilliant coach who has never lost the locker room, he has made some questionable decisions over the years. Tomlin had a massive hand in the draft process with former GM Kevin Colbert and the heads of the team were quick to fall in love with players like Devin Bush and Najee Harris. This led to short-sighted roster building.

However, Tomlin's fatal flaw has been his inability to hire great coaches, and his biggest mistake should have been enough for the Pittsburgh Steelers to begin their search for a new head coach.

Three years of Matt Canada should have been the final straw for Mike Tomlin as Steelers HC

I questioned the team's decision to fire Todd Haley after a 13-3 season in which the Steelers had one of the best offenses in the league. Instead of looking for a young, innovative mind to run the offense, Tomlin promoted former QB coach Randy Fichtner as the team's new offensive coordinator. This proved to be a disastrous hiring and he was out of a job after his second season as OC.

However, what followed was notably worse.

Coach Tomlin had a chance to right his wrong by finding a capable offensive coordinator after moving on from Fichtner. Instead, he was responsible for making Matt Canada the new OC in Pittsburgh.

Fans were optimistic about Canada at first, but very early in his tenure, we could tell that he was not the guy we were looking for. Canada had questionable play sequencing and passing concepts with low upside that were designed solely to minimize the risk of turning the football over.

While Pittsburgh's quarterbacks had a low turnover worthy play rate under Canada, it came at the cost of putting points on the board. The worst part is that Tomlin allowed this to continue for three seasons... and things got worse each year.

When it was all said and done, the Steelers averaged 18.7 points per game from 2021 to 2023 under Canada. However, this included points scored by the defense and special teams during this time -- points that Canada can't even take credit for. In his final year, Canada's offense ranked 28th in the league in scoring and 25th in yards, according to Pro Football Reference.

After suffering through five combined years of Randy Fichtner and Matt Canada, Art Rooney II did not put Tomlin on the hot seat; he rewarded the Steelers head coach with a three-year contract extension.

Mike Tomlin's worst decision was hiring Canada and allowing him to be the Steelers offensive coordinator for three seasons despite things getting worse each year. This should have been enough for Pittsburgh to move on and begin the search for their next great head coach.