Mike Tomlin was named the 16th head coach in Pittsburgh Steelers history on Jan. 22, 2007. Hired at the age of 34, Tomlin became only the third head coach hired by the Steelers since 1969.
Tomlin became the youngest head coach in NFL history to both coach in and win a Super Bowl when he led the Steelers to a 27-23 victory over the Arizona Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII. By winning the Super Bowl in only his second season as a head coach, he also became the fastest to win a Super Bowl title in Steelers’ history.
Tomlin is one of only seven coaches in league history to win a Super Bowl within his first two seasons as an NFL head coach. Tomlin is the only head coach in Steelers history to lead the team to two Super Bowls in his first four seasons at the helm, including an appearance against the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XLV. He is one of only two Steelers’ head coaches to win three division titles in his first four seasons.
Tomlin has compiled a 43-21 record in the regular season during his four-year head coaching career. His .672 winning percentage in his first four seasons is tied for the best in team history with former coach Bill Cowher. In 2010, Tomlin became only the second Steelers’ head coach to win at least 10 games in three of his first four seasons.
The Steelers were dominant on the road in 2010, finishing with a 7-1 regular season record away from Heinz Field. Tomlin’s seven road wins during the regular season tied a Steelers record previously set in 1978 and again in 2004.
The Steelers finished second in total defense under Tomlin’s guidance in 2010, allowing only 276.8 yards per game. Pittsburgh led the NFL and set a team record in rushing defense, yielding only 62.8 yards per game (1,004 yards), the third-best total in NFL history dating back to 1970. The Steelers also established an NFL record in 2010 by not allowing an opponent to rush for more than 75 yards in any of their first eight games during regular the season.
In all, the Steelers defense led the NFL in 2010 in rushing yards allowed, points allowed (232), touchdowns (22), quarterback sacks (48), rushing average (3.0), yards per play (4.5) and yards allowed on first down (4.08). It finished second in the league in passing average (6.31), turnover advantage (+14) and red-zone efficiency (40.0, tied).
Under Tomlin, the Steelers broke new ground on offense in 2009. Pittsburgh’s offense ranked seventh in the NFL (ninth passing, 19th rushing) but became the first unit in team history to boast a 4,000-yard passer, two 1,000-yard receivers and a 1,000-yard rusher in the same season. Pittsburgh’s defense ranked fifth in the NFL (third vs. run, 16th vs. pass) while leading the AFC and finishing one shy of the NFL lead with 47 quarterback sacks.
The Steelers continued to be dominant at Heinz Field under Tomlin in 2009. Pittsburgh finished with a 6-2 home record in 2009 after finishing 7-1 (2007) and 6-2 (2008) at home during Tomlin’s first two seasons. Tomlin’s 24-8 record and .750 winning percentage at home after four seasons ranks second in Steelers’ history.
Tomlin finished the 2008 season with a 12-4 record and his second consecutive AFC North Division title, becoming the only Steelers head coach to win division crowns in each of his first two seasons. He also set a record with 22 regular-season wins in his first two years at the helm and is the only Steelers head coach to win at least 10 games in each of his first two seasons. Tomlin’s .688 winning percentage (22-10) after two years is the best in Steelers’ history.
The Steelers’ defense was dominant under Tomlin’s guidance in 2008, leading the NFL in total defense (237.2), pass defense (156.9), points per game (13.9), total yards per play (3.9), rushing yards per attempt (3.3), passing yards per attempt (4.7) and third-down efficiency (31.4), and finished second in league rushing defense (80.3).
Tomlin began his head coaching career by becoming only the second Steelers’ head coach to win his first three games. During 2007, the Steelers became just the fifth team in NFL history to win their first four home games by at least 20 points.
Tomlin led the Steelers to a 10-6 record in 2007, and became just the second coach in team history to post a winning record, win a division title and earn a playoff berth in his inaugural season.
Tomlin guided the Steelers to the NFL’s top-ranked defense in 2007, yielding only 266.4 yards per game. The Steelers’ defense ranked third in the NFL against both the run (89.9 avg.) and pass (176.5 avg.), and also finished third in the league in total yards allowed per play (4.6). Pittsburgh’s defense led the NFL in passing yards per play (5.7) and first downs allowed per game (15.6), and finished second in the league in points allowed per game (16.8).
The Steelers’ offense finished third in the NFL in rushing (135.5 avg.) during Tomlin’s first season, sparked by running back Willie Parker who led the league in rushing before injuring his leg in Week 16. QB Ben Roethlisberger enjoyed a record-setting season during Tomlin’s first year, establishing new team records for touchdown passes (32) and passer rating (104.1), while earning his first career Pro Bowl appearance. In 2007, the Steelers held the advantage in time of possession in 14-of-16 regular season games.
Tomlin was the NFL’s second-youngest head coach in 2007, and he became only the second Steelers’ coach in team history to win at least 10 games during his first year at the helm. The Steelers posted a 7-1 record at home in 2007 and were 5-1 in the AFC North (3-0 at home).
Tomlin spent the 2006 season as the Minnesota Vikings’ defensive coordinator. Under Tomlin in 2006, the Vikings ranked eighth in the NFL in total defense and first against the run while not allowing a 100-yard rusher the entire season.
Tomlin was the defensive backs coach from 2001-05 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In 2002, Tomlin guided one of the most productive defensive backfields in the NFL, culminating with its performance in Super Bowl XXXVII. The secondary recorded four of the team’s five interceptions, returning two for touchdowns to help Tampa Bay capture the franchise’s first Super Bowl title.
Before joining Tampa Bay’s staff, Tomlin served two seasons as the defensive backs coach at the University of Cincinnati (1999-00). He took over a secondary that ranked 111th in the nation in pass defense in 1998 and helped them improve to 61st overall in his first season. Under Tomlin’s direction in 2000, the Bearcats ranked eighth in the nation in interceptions as well as fourth nationally in total turnovers.
Prior to joining the Cincinnati staff, Tomlin had a short stint on the coaching staff at Tennessee-Martin and then spent two seasons at Arkansas State where he coached wide receivers in 1997 before switching to defensive backs in 1998. Tomlin spent the 1996 season as a graduate assistant at the University of Memphis, where he worked with the Tiger defensive backs and special teams units. He began his coaching career in 1995 as wide receivers coach at Virginia Military Institute.
Tomlin was a three-year starter at wide receiver at William and Mary (1990-94) and finished his career with 101 receptions for 2,046 yards and a school-record 20 TD catches. A first-team All-Yankee Conference selection in 1994, he established a school record with a 20.2 yards-per-catch average.