Tomlin’s contract extension good for Steelers

PITTSBURGH - DECEMBER 20: Head coach Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers talks on his headset during the game against the Green Bay Packers on December 20, 2009 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

The latest head coach to bring the Steelers a Super Bowl title just got rewarded for his efforts.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is reporting that Mike Tomlin has signed a three-year extension with the Steelers through the 2014 season. While no details outside of that have been released, he was previously one of the NFL’s lowest paid coaches at roughly $500K per year. His new deal will likely be double that amount.

While the Steelers under performed last season, there’s little doubt that Tomlin deserved an extension. In his three years in Pittsburgh, he has a 31-17 record, has won two division titles and one Super Bowl. Some like to point out that he won the title in 2008 with Bill Cowher’s players, but keep in mind that most coaches can’t win with their own handpicked players – not to mention someone else’s.

Another thing Tomlin has taken some criticism for is how the Steelers failed to make the playoffs last year despite winning the Super Bowl the season before. But keep in mind that after Cowher won in ’05, the Steelers finished 8-8 the following year. Despite finishing third in the AFC North last season, Pittsburgh still finished with a winning record (9-7) under Tomlin and has yet to have a losing season under him thus far.

The point is that it’s hard to win back-to-back titles in the NFL. The team that wins the Super Bowl automatically has a bulls-eye on its back the following year, making it difficult to repeat. They rarely have easy games because opponents gear up to beat them, so it’s a stretch to say the Steelers collapsed last year at 9-7. (Let’s not forget that free agency allows teams to rebuild quickly in the NFL.)

The extension for Tomlin is a great thing for the Steelers. Most teams don’t keep the same head coach for over three years, but Pittsburgh is one of the few organizations that has managed to find consistency at the position. That’s just one of the many reasons they’ve managed to win so many division titles over the years.

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