To this point in his Hall of Fame career as the head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Mike Tomlin has famously not had a losing season, a streak that no coach has ever achieved.
That could be coming to an end this season as the Steelers sit at 6-8 on the season.
While a handful of players have come out in recent days talking about how important it is to them to extend Tomlin’s non-losing seasons streak to 16 seasons here late in the season, the veteran head coach is paying it no mind, choosing to focus on the week ahead, which features a rather important, emotionally charged matchup against the Las Vegas Raiders on Christmas Eve.
That game will be the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Immaculate Reception by Franco Harris against the then-Oakland Raiders, and will see Harris have his No. 32 jersey retired at halftime by the organization.
All Tomlin is focused on is getting a win this week in a big game for the organization and the city. Doing that will allow the Steelers to take another step forward towards checking off a “silly peripheral box” that is the non-losing seasons streak, he stated to reporters Tuesday during his weekly press conference.
“We hadn’t talked about it,” Tomlin stated to reporters, according to video via the Steelers’ official YouTube page, regarding players saying how important the streak is to them. “You know, we just focus on this week. If you do, it kind of checks some of those silly peripheral boxes. We got a big game this week. We win this game, we do what’s required to prepare to win this game, it answers all those little sidebar silly questions.”
That’s about the answer you could expect from Tomlin in this situation. He’s never going to put the positive focus on himself. He largely hates talking about himself and really doesn’t pay much attention to talk about his non-losing seasons streak.
That doesn’t mean he doesn’t know it exists and doesn’t take pride in it. Star safety Minkah Fitzpatrick stated that Tomlin does take pride in it and takes pride in his ability to coach overall, but the veteran head coach has the right outlook right now late in the season.
Sitting at 6-8, the Steelers need to win out to continue the non-losing seasons streak. A loss in any of the next three weeks would end that streak at a remarkable 15 seasons. For some, that would be the best thing to come out of the season because it’s largely a silly talking point when it comes to Tomlin.
It doesn’t take away from the fact how remarkable the feat truly is in today’s NFL landscape with so much parity, player movement and more.