After the Pittsburgh Steelers found a way to rally back and get the help they needed to make the NFL Playoffs, the last thing on the mind of fans was Mike Tomlin's future. Because Tomlin was able to earn his 17th straight season without a winning record as well as a postseason appearance this year, we know that the long-time head coach isn't going anywhere unless it's on his own terms.
Interestingly, Tomlin might put those terms to use this offseason. Tomlin came under fire from the fanbase following a three-game skid against the Cardinals, Patriots, and Colts to begin the month of December, but nobody is questioning his job securing after winning three straight games and earning a playoff berth.
Now it sounds like Tomlin's future with the Pittsburgh Steelers could become a focal discussion point in the very near future. On ESPN's NFL Countdown, Insider Adam Schefter thinks there's a chance that Tomlin could pull a 'Sean Payton' on the Steelers and take some time away from football following the playoffs.
"“They’re not firing Mike Tomlin. But here’s the thing that’s interesting: He’s got a year left on his contract. And there are some people around the league who believe Mike Tomlin could decide to take some time off like Sean Payton did.”"- Adam Schefter via ESPN's NFL Countdown
Talk about a curveball. This Steelers rumor comes after Art Rooney II chose not to renew Tomlin's contract with just one year remaining on his deal -- something he normally would have taken care of already.
If Pittsburgh falls on their face against the Buffalo Bills, this could be their third straight blowout loss in the playoffs. The Steelers are searching for their first postseason win since the conclusion of the 2017 season. If this team goes one more year without playoff success, it wouldn't be the craziest thing to see Tomlin follow in the footsteps of Sean Payton.
If you recall, Payton decided to take a year off from football following the 2021 season -- his 15th year as the head coach of the Saints. He did so while having a year remaining on his contract. This allowed Payton time to mull over his options. It also gave the Saints an opportunity to seek a trade partner. In the end, New Orleans was able to trade Payton in the final year of his contract for future first-round, second-round, and third-round picks.
If Mike Tomlin could fetch a similar price tag (and he very well could), a mutual parting could be in the best interest of both Tomlin and the Steelers -- especially if Pittsburgh is one-and-done in the NFL Playoffs once again.
With the latest whispers and rumors, Tomlin's future is sure to be one of the biggest storylines for the Pittsburgh Steelers during the 2024 offseason.