Mike Tomlin was named the 16th head coach in Pittsburgh Steelers history on January 22, 2007. Hired at the age of 34, Tomlin became only the third head coach hired by the Steelers since 1969.
In his 16 seasons as head coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Tomlin has accomplished many things that have never been done in the team's storied history. A franchise known for stability at the head coaching position, Tomlin ranks among the League's longest-tenured active head coaches entering the 2023 season.
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 (36 years, 323 days), a record that held until it was eclipsed by Sean McVay in Super Bowl LVI (36 years, 20 days). 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.
Over his head coaching tenure in Pittsburgh, Tomlin has led the Steelers to seven AFC North titles, most recently in 2020, and has guided the Steelers to the playoffs 10 times, including two trips to the Super Bowl (XLIII and XLV). Tomlin has won at least five home games in 15 of his 16 seasons. In his 16 seasons, he has never had a losing record.
Tomlin has sent a total of 73 selections to the NFL's annual Pro Bowl, including the three players who received Pro Bowl honors for the 2022 season. Additionally, Tomlin was appointed by Commissioner Roger Goodell to the NFL's Competition Committee in March 2013.
Tomlin is just the eighth coach in NFL history to win a Super Bowl within his first two seasons as head coach. He 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 led Pittsburgh to a 163-93-2 record in the regular season since becoming the team's head coach in 2007 - the third-best record in the NFL during that time span, behind only Andy Reid and Bill Belichick. His 163-93-2 regular-season record (.636) is the best start in franchise history. Tomlin's 163 regular-season victories are the third-most among active NFL head coaches and 16th-most in League history. Tomlin's .636 regular-season win percentage is the 13th-highest in NFL history (minimum 100 games).
Tomlin is one of four active NFL head coaches with over 160 victories and one of five active NFL head coaches to defeat at least 31 current NFL franchises.
Tomlin's young 2022 team improved dramatically over the course of the season, culminating in Tomlin's 16th-straight season of .500 or above with a record of 9-8. The Steelers started the season at 2-6 before their Week 9 bye, and went 7-2 the rest of the way. Pittsburgh's offense boasted the best third-down conversion rate and the third-most rushing yards in the League from Weeks 10 through 18 after starting the season ranked 24th in both categories through the first eight weeks. Defensively, Pittsburgh improved from ranking 29th in opponent yards per game to the stingiest defense in the League over the second half of the season, allowing an NFL-best 272.9 yards per game following their bye week. The Steelers defense also improved in getting off the field through the last nine weeks, allowing the third-least third-down conversions (36) and and tying for the second-most interceptions (12).
In 2021, Tomlin led the Steelers to a 9-7-1 record and captured a playoff berth for the 10th time in his Steelers career. For the fifth-straight season, the Steelers led the NFL in sacks (55). The Pittsburgh defense sat atop the League in red zone defense allowing touchdowns on just 50.14% of red zone trips. Offensively, rookies Pat Freiermuth and Najee Harris set several rookie franchise records and were two of five rookies starting in Week 1 of the season.
In 2020, Tomlin became one of just two head coaches in NFL history to begin a head coaching tenure with at least 14 consecutive non-losing seasons -- joining Marty Schottenheimer (14, 1984-97). The Steelers began the season with an 11-0 win-streak, which culminated in a 12-4 regular-season record and Tomlin's ninth AFC North title. The 11-game winning streak (9/14/20-12/2/20) tied the longest regular season winning streak in franchise history. Over the past six seasons (2013-20), Tomlin has led the team to a 26-13 record in the month of December/January.
The Steelers offense dramatically improved in 2020, scoring at least 24 points in 11 regular season games after hitting the mark just five times in 2019. However, it was Pittsburgh's defense that once again showed its teeth, either topping or sharing the league lead in 20 different defensive categories including tackles for loss (103), sacks (56.0), interceptions (18), passes defensed (84), quarterback pressures (198), defensive completion percentage (56.7%) and opposing QB rating (76.7). The unit also finished second in takeaways (27) and third in scoring defense (19.5).
Finishing the regular season as the AFC's No. 3 seed, Pittsburgh produced five Pro Bowlers - offensive linemen Maurkice Pouncey and David DeCastro and defenders Minkah Fitzpatrick, Cameron Heyward and T.J. Watt - marking the fourth consecutive season in which at least five Steelers were named to the Pro Bowl.
Pittsburgh was beset with injuries in 2019. The Steelers lost quarterback Ben Roethlisberger with a season-ending elbow injury in Week 2. Running back James Conner missed six games, wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster missed four games, and was sidelined for the majority of two others, and defensive end Stephon Tuitt missed the final 10 games of the season. Even backups -- quarterback Mason Rudolph and running back Jaylen Samuels missed multiple games. Starting center Maurkice Pouncey missed three games. Starting left guard Ramon Foster and starting tight end Vance McDonald were both sidelined two games for concussions. Undrafted rookie free-agent Devlin Hodges was forced to play in eight games (six starts), and, despite an 0-3 start, Tomlin still led Pittsburgh to a record of 8-8.
Despite injuries, Pittsburgh's defense led or tied for the League-lead in sacks (54.0), quarterback hits (117), takeaways (36), fumble recoveries (17) and rush TDs allowed (7). The Steelers also ranked among the NFL's top-five in interceptions (2nd, 20), interception rate (2nd, 3.89%), passing defense (3rd, 194.6), yards per play allowed (3rd, 4.74), passes defensed (3rd, 83), yards per rush allowed (3rd, 3.79), forced fumbles (t-3rd, 19), tackles for loss (t-3rd, 90), opposing passer rating (4th, 80.7), pass yards per attempt allowed (4th, 6.06), total defense (5th, 304.1), scoring defense (t-5th, 18.9) and offensive TDs allowed (5th, 30).
During the 2019 season, Tomlin reached 125 career wins in the fewest games (192) in team history, tying him with Bud Grant for the fifth-fewest games by an NFL head coach to secure 125 regular season wins. He was the third head coach in NFL history with 133 or more regular season wins in their first 13 seasons as a head coach, joining Tony Dungy: 139 and Shula: 138.
Tomlin led the Steelers to a record of 9-6-1 in 2018. With a Week 5 win against Atlanta, he and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger broke a tie with Chuck Noll and Terry Bradshaw for the most wins by a head coach-quarterback tandem in franchise history. The duo's 127 regular-season wins (2007-20) are now third-most by a head coach-quarterback pairing in NFL history, trailing only the tandems of Sean Payton/Drew Brees and Bill Belichick/Tom Brady.
Roethlisberger set single-season franchise records for touchdown passes (34), pass completions (452) and passing yards (5,129) in 2018, while leading all NFL players in pass completions and passing yardage. Wide receiver Antonio Brown led the NFL with a single-season franchise record 15 TD catches. Brown and second-year wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster also made history, becoming the sixth wide receiver duo in NFL history and first in Steelers history to record 100 receptions and 1,000 yards apiece in a single season. Smith-Schuster was voted Team MVP for his breakout year.
With Tomlin at the helm, six Steelers were named to the Pro Bowl for their 2018 performances — the third consecutive season with at least five selections. Brown, running back James Conner, defensive tackle Cameron Heyward and offensive linemen DeCastro, Maurkice Pouncey and Villanueva all received Pro Bowl accolades.
In 2017, Tomlin led the Steelers to a 13-3 record, including a 6-0 record against the AFC North, securing his sixth division title and a No. 2 seed in the AFC for the postseason. The team's 13 wins marked the most wins in a single season in the Tomlin era.
Under Tomlin's guidance, Roethlisberger became the eighth quarterback in NFL history to reach 50,000 passing yards, finishing the 2017 season with a career total of 51,065. Brown was voted team MVP for his outstanding performance and became the first Steeler to earn the honor four times (2011, '13, '15 and '17). Brown led the league with 1,533 receiving yards and set an NFL record for the most receptions (582) and receiving yards (7,848) by a player in any five-year span in League history. For the second straight season, running back Le'Veon Bell led the AFC in scrimmage yards per game (129.7) and sur- passed his own Steelers single-season record for receptions by a running back with 85. Defensively, the team led the NFL and set a Steelers single-season record with 56 sacks in 2017.
For their efforts, Roethlisberger, Brown and Bell were named to the Pro Bowl along with kicker Chris Boswell, linebacker Ryan Shazier, and offensive linemen DeCastro, Maurkice Pouncey and Villanueva. Brown, Bell and DeCastro were also named AP All-Pro, along with Heyward. Heyward and fullback Roosevelt Nix were also added to the Pro Bowl roster prior to the game.
The Steelers finished with an 11-5 record in 2016, and won each of the team's final seven regular- season games, to secure the AFC North title and No. 3 seed in the AFC for the postseason. It marked the fifth time Tomlin led the Steelers to at least 11 wins in the regular season. Pittsburgh won its first two postseason games, vs. Miami in an AFC Wild Card Game and at Kansas City in an AFC Divisional Playoff, before falling to the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game.
Bell was voted the Steelers' MVP for his 2016 efforts. He led the NFL in scrimmage yards per game (157.0), and he became the fastest player in NFL history to reach 3,000 rushing yards and 1,500 receiving yards in his career (38 games). In the Steelers' Week 14 victory at Buffalo in 2016, Bell set the single- game team record with 236 rushing yards and tied the single-game team mark with three rushing TDs.
Roethlisberger and Brown continued to etch their names in NFL history. Roethlisberger finished the season with the ninth-most passing TDs in NFL history (301) and the 10th-most passing yards in NFL history (46,814). Brown set numerous NFL records, including one for the most receptions in a player's first 100 career regular-season games (622) and one for the most receptions in NFL history by a player in any four-year span (481).
Tomlin also reached his 100th career win in 2016 and did so in the fewest games (157) in team history. He became the eighth head coach in NFL history to reach 100 regular-season wins in their first 10 seasons.
Despite significant injuries to multiple starters during the 2015 season, the Steelers finished with a 10-6 record (2nd in the AFC North) and advanced to the Divisional Round of the playoffs. The Steelers finished third in the NFL in total offense (1st in the AFC), while the defense posted 48 sacks under first- year defensive coordinator Keith Butler. The 48 sacks were the third most in the NFL in 2015.
In 2014, Tomlin orchestrated one of the top offensive outputs in team history. The Steelers broke numerous offensive records, including points scored (436), total yards (6,577), passing yards per game (301.6) and total first downs (379). On an individual basis in 2014, Tomlin guided Roethlisberger, Brown and Bell — who all made the Pro Bowl — to record-setting years.
Arguably one of his best coaching performances may have come in the second half of the 2013 season. Despite an 0-4 and 2-6 start to the season, the Steelers finished the regular season surging to a 6-2 second-half record, falling just short of the playoffs.
In 2012, Tomlin led the Steelers to a 27-10 victory over the New York Jets in the home opener, becoming the first coach in team history to win his first six home openers. The Steelers finished the season with the top-ranked overall defense (275.8 yards/game) and finished first in passing defense (185.2 yards/game).
In 2011, Tomlin led the Steelers to a 12-4 record, marking the second straight season the team posted 12 wins, which was only the second time in team history it had been achieved. The Steelers finished the season with the top-ranked total defense (271.8 ypg) and scoring defense (14.2 ppg). Pittsburgh posted a 7-1 record at home in 2011, for the second time in Tomlin's career (2007). He also had five players (Roethlisberger, Mike Wallace, Pouncey, Troy Polamalu and Brown) selected to the Pro Bowl following the season.
Tomlin's seven road wins during the 2010 regular season tied a Steelers record previously set in 1978 and 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 the regular season.
In all, the Steelers' defense led the NFL in 2010 in rushing yards allowed (62.8 yds./game), points allowed (232), touchdowns allowed (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 (Roethlisberger), two 1,000-yard receivers (Hines Ward, Santonio Holmes) and a 1,000-yard rusher (Rashard Mendenhall) 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 home under Tomlin in 2009. Pittsburgh finished with a 6-2 home record after finishing 7-1 (2007) and 6-2 (2008) at home during Tomlin's first two seasons.
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), while finishing second in rush defense (80.3).
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 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 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 the pass (176.5 avg.), and 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 Willie Parker, who led the league in rushing before injuring his leg in Week 16. Roethlisberger enjoyed a record-setting season during Tomlin's first year, establishing new team records for TD passes (32) and passer rating (104.1) while earning his first career Pro Bowl appearance.
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. That season, 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 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 2001-05. 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, coaching 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 & Mary (1990-94) and finished his career with 101 receptions for 2,054 yards and 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.
Tomlin is very active in the community and was recognized, along with his wife Kiya, in February 2013 by the Chuck Cooper Foundation with the Career Achievement in Leadership Diversity and Community Service Award. Tomlin also participates in the annual ManUp Pittsburgh conference which encourages local men to be better fathers and role models.