Mike Tomlin Falls Out Of Top Five In Head Coach Rankings, Placed Behind John Harbaugh

It’s ranking season as we get through the rest of July ahead of the Pittsburgh Steelers reporting for training camp July 26th. In keeping with that theme, CBS Sports is the latest to rank the top 32 head coaches in football. They’re not the first to do it this year but Tomlin’s slotting has varied from inside to outside the top five. Here, author Cody Benjamin chooses the latter, ranking Tomlin as the 6th-best coach in the league.

In explaining the slotting, Benjmain writes:

“Much like Sean Payton, he’s searching for the postseason glory of old, going just 3-8 in the playoffs since 2010’s Super Bowl loss. And his ground-and-pound philosophy tends to be better at producing wild-card fighters than Lombardi contenders. But no one will ever count his teams out, both because of his unwavering fortitude and unmatched track record of 16 straight non-losing seasons.”

It’s a pretty fair assessment from a national perspective. Saying he has a rooted “ground-and-pound philosophy” is probably a touch strong, his offenses have been built in different ways, but it’s clearly the approach Pittsburgh is building this year. They’ll rely on a strong run game and sturdy defense to win, just as they did following the bye week last season.

While Tomlin has gotten the most out of some difficult situations, 2019 and 2022 are two recent and prime examples, recent playoff success has been fleeting. The Steelers haven’t won a playoff game since 2016, upset in 2017 and 2020 while being blown out in 2021. Pittsburgh has built some impressive regular season defenses but that hasn’t carried over to the playoffs, allowing 40+ points in all three of those games. Responsibility doesn’t fall solely on them, offensive turnovers have also been an issue, but their playoff drought needs to end sooner than later. It makes 2023 a pivotal year.

On this list, Tomlin isn’t ranked as even the best head coach in his division. Baltimore’s John Harbaugh comes in one spot ahead at #5 though he’s had a similar issue, just one playoff victory since 2015. Kansas City’s Andy Reid grabs the top spot over San Francisco’s Kyle Shanahan. Chicago’s Matt Eberflus comes in last on the list after going 3-14 in his first year as Bears’ head coach.

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