Steelers sign themselves up for mediocrity with Mike Tomlin extension

Pittsburgh could do far worse than Coach Tomlin, but did the Steelers just sign themselves up for three more years of mediocrity?
Pittsburgh Steelers OTA Offseason Workout
Pittsburgh Steelers OTA Offseason Workout / Joe Sargent/GettyImages

There are many words that we can use to describe the Pittsburgh Steelers in recent years. However, none seems more fitting than the word, 'stale.' The defensive concepts are vanilla and the offense has been nonexistent for years. But the man who's in charge of it all isn't being disciplined; he's been rewarded.

On June 10, Mike Tomlin inked a three-year contract extension as the head coach of the Steelers. He was set to coach in the final year of his deal in 2024, but the extension will keep him in Pittsburgh until at least 2027.

This means that Tomlin has another four years to prove his team can make a deep playoff push -- something he did not prove in the previous four years... or the four years before that.

Pittsburgh's most recent Super Bowl appearance came all the way back in 2010. Since then, the team has won just 3 playoff games over the past 13 years. It's even more concerning when you look at the context.

The opposing quarterbacks leading the charge in these three postseason victories since 2011 have been none other than AJ McCarron (Bengals), Matt Moore (Dolphins), and Alex Smith (Chiefs). Their most recent playoff win came during the 2016 postseason over seven years ago. In their previous three playoff games dating back to 2020, the Steelers have lost by multiple scores in each contest.

Mike Tomlin can will keep the Steelers competitive in the regular season

One thing goes without saying: Mike Tomlin will keep the Steelers competitive during the regular season. Such has been the case in all 17 seasons as the team's head coach. In fact, Tomlin has never played in a meaningless season finale since taking over the team.

Let's give credit where credit is due. Tomlin has done a lot with nothing at times, and his 173-100-2 record deserves to be recognized. However, one could argue that it's Tomlin's vision and philosophy of winning that are holding the Steelers back in a rapidly changing NFL.

Tomlin's goal is -- and always has been -- to play great defense, run the ball effectively, and control the clock to win football games. This is a strategy that has worked in the regular season but has proven futile over the past decade in the postseason.

As other teams have the ability to air it out and put up points on the board in a hurry, the Steelers' backward philosophy doesn't allow them to effectively play from behind when matched up against good AFC teams in the playoffs. This is where Tomlin has been left in the dust.

If you are in favor of Pittsburgh staying 'competitive' each year with nine-ish wins and a shot at a playoff berth, you're no doubt ecstatic about Mike Tomlin's three-year extension. But based on what we have witnessed for over a decade now, it's hard to say that the Steelers didn't just sign themselves up for three more years of mediocrity.