Coach Mike Tomlin brought an energy with him from the first time he walked into the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex.
That energy has rubbed off on everyone he has come in contact with, from staff to coaches to players. He is loved and respected by everyone who works with him, and in today's Throwback Thursday we go back to the day he was hired.
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Mike Tomlin became the 16th head coach on January 22, 2007, succeeding Bill Cowher, and becoming only the third head coach since 1969.
"Mike's core values are a good match for our organization," said Steelers' President Art Rooney II during Tomlin's introductory press conference. "Mike wants to play the kind of football that has been the kind of football that the Pittsburgh Steelers have played and he will bring that approach to our team and I think he will play the kind of football that Steelers fans have come to appreciate through the years."
Tomlin said that day he was honored to join the Steelers and showed his respect for the organization immediately.
"It is a great honor to be a part of the most storied franchise in all of professional sports," said Tomlin during the same press conference. "We are coming to grips with what that means, but we are having fun. We intend to make no bold predictions about what we are going to do. What we are going to do is promise to have a first-class blue collar work ethic in how we approach our business."
Being just the third coach since 1969 showed that stability has always been a staple for the Steelers. Tomlin will enter his 15th season with the team in 2021 and was signed to a three-year contract extension this offseason that will keep him at the helm through at least the 2024 season.
From the time he arrived in Pittsburgh, Tomlin found success. He became the youngest head coach in NFL history to both coach in and win a Super Bowl when the Steelers defeated the Arizona Cardinals, 27-23, in Super Bowl XLIII. At the time Tomlin was 36 years, 323 days old. 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.
On January 22, 2007 Mike Tomlin was hired to take over for Bill Cowher. Take a look at some photos from that day.
In 14 seasons Tomlin led the Steelers to seven AFC North titles, including 2020, nine playoff berths, and two Super Bowl (XLIII and XLV) appearances.
Tomlin has a 145-78-1 (.650) regular season record, ranking 12th in NFL history with a regular season record of 67 games over .500. The 145 regular season wins are tied for 21st overall in NFL history and are third most among active NFL head coaches. In addition, his .650 win percentage in the regular season ranks second among active head coaches, with a minimum of 100 games, in the NFL and ranks 11th in NFL history.
He has earned respect from his players throughout his career, because he comes at them with a straight-forward approach at all times.
"When Coach Tomlin says something, guys respect it and do it because of that level of respect we have for him," said receiver James Washington. "He is always looking out for everyone's well-being and we want to do everything for him."
Playing for Tomlin is something the players love, from those he drafted, to those he gave a chance to, and cornerback Cameron Sutton shared some powerful thoughts on him.
"What is not to like about him. I have so much respect and love," said Sutton. "It's so hard to even put into words our relationship, and his with anybody he comes across. That is just his presence, his character, the man that he is. He instills that in everyone he encounters. I have embraced that.
"Just being around him, someone I grew up watching from a television standpoint, and to be able to say I work with him on a day-to-day basis and gain the knowledge. No question what I saw watching him on television is what I see now. Being in the same organization, seeing the vision and the knowledge he has and how he instills that in the football world and what he does outside of football. He isn't always recognized for it and doesn't need to be. That is just the way he is. He is our leader. He leads us out there on the field and you want a guy like that in front of you, who is ready for whatever, never going to back down from a situation or get outside of who he is.
"He is always true to himself. That is so enjoyable and loving to be around. You only shoot to emulate that and build on it and be a part of it. You see everything he did in the football world and how he carries himself as a man. I have always appreciated that from him.
"There is so much power in his word and how he carries himself. It's easy to gravitate toward him. Sometimes you aren't a leader, you have to know how to follow people. He does a great job of giving off that message to anyone he encounters. I have always appreciated that. I have always appreciated his love. Being able to go to him about anything in any situation. He has no hesitation. He won't sugar coat anything. He would straight shoot like you are his own son. I have nothing but respect for him."