Shepard: Can Mike Tomlin become the all-time winningest coach in NFL history?

Given his age and effectiveness, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin has a legitimate shot at NFL immortality

CBS Sports Radio Weekend
November 02, 2020 - 5:23 pm
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After beating the Baltimore Ravens, 28-24, on Sunday, the Pittsburgh Steelers now find themselves at 7-0, which is pretty impressive! They are the only remaining undefeated team in the 2020 NFL season. The last time they began a season 7-0 was 1978. When you consider that no team in NFL history has won more Super Bowls than the Steelers, to match a feat that hasn’t been done since 1978 is pretty surreal. With all that being said, those two notable accomplishments were not the most impressive things from the Steelers’ win Sunday.
 
The most impressive thing was head coach Mike Tomlin getting his 140th career win, making him the winningest Black coach in NFL history. Tomlin surpassed Tony Dungy, who happens to be in Canton. Tomlin is just in his 40s.
 
The five head coaches who are right above Tomlin for most career wins are Marv Levy, Bill Cowher, Steve Owen, Joe Gibbs and Bud Grant. You know what all five of those individuals have in common? They are all Hall Of Famers. Gibbs coached until he was 67, about 20 years older than Tomlin happens to be right now. Levy coached into his 70s, a quarter century older than Tomlin is at the present moment. Tomlin will likely pass all five of these coaches in career wins while still in just his 40s.  
 
Since being hired in 2007, Tomlin and the Steelers have not had a single losing season. He was great essentially from Day 1. In his first four seasons, he became the youngest head coach to ever win a Super Bowl, and two seasons later he came within seven points of winning another Super Bowl. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has suffered from a myriad of injuries. He has missed a total of two seasons while playing for Tomlin. Over the last 12 seasons, Brady has missed just four games, which was due to suspension, so when he came back, there was no lapse. Imagine how many more games Tomlin would have won if Big Ben were more durable like Brady. Speaking of the Patriots…..
 
Tomlin could very well end up with more career wins than Bill Belichick. Belichick is 20 years older than Tomlin and having Brady, who seemed to never miss a game, truly helped him. In fact, it might have MADE him. Belichick, in the eight seasons in which he has not had Brady, has had six losing seasons (including this one). For every three out of four seasons without TB12, Belichick has losing seasons. Again, despite not having Big Ben for a total of two seasons, Tomlin has never had a losing season.
 
Tomlin has averaged over 10 wins per season. If he decides to coach as long as Belichick, he would end up with over 200 more victories to his already 140 career wins. That would not only put him ahead of Belichick in career wins; that would put make him the winningest coach in NFL history.
 
Since the 1960s, the Steelers have had only three head coaches. They are not in the business of coaching turnover. Given the respect his players have for him, the culture he sets for that Steelers’ locker room, and the way he handles the media, Tomlin clearly he embodies what a successful NFL head coach is all about. Unlike many other NFL teams (the others will remain nameless), he refuses to give an inch and isn’t in the business of tanking for one second. He is the only coach to have success with Antonio Brown and Le'Veon Bell, keep that in mind. How have their careers gone since being coached by Tomlin? That could be a whole other article, maybe two.
 
Tomlin passing Dungy and becoming the winningest Black coach in NFL history is remarkable. Considering how young he is and the fact that he looks like he is only getting better, don’t be surprised if he is one day the all-time winningest coach in NFL history.


CBS Sports Radio producer David Shepard is a former ESPN researcher, a former Division I college basketball practice player, and the host of The Good Shepard YouTube channel. Follow him on Twitter @TheGoodShepard_.