The Steelers’ 26-14 win over the Browns Monday night proved to be a record-breaker for head coach Mike Tomlin.
Pittsburgh improved to 8-7-1 on the season, now guaranteed to finish .500 or better with Week 18 against the Ravens on the horizon. It’s the 15th consecutive season Tomlin will finish .500 or better, the longest streak to begin a head coach’s career.
Steelers Ahkello Witherspoon and Joe Haden celebrate a stop on fourth down to end the game at Heinz Field on Dec. 19, 2021, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Justin Berl/Getty Images)
To quote Brad Pitt in “Moneyball,” “If you lose the last game of the season, nobody gives a s—.” Tomlin apparently feels the same way.
“Not as I sit here today, and I say that humbly,” Tomlin said, via ESPN’s Brooke Pryor. “Our agenda, this year, is to get into [the] single-elimination tournament and then pit our skills against others in that single-elimination tournament in an effort to win the world championship. That’s our mentality every year.
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin watches during the Baltimore Ravens game at Heinz Field on Dec. 5, 2021, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
“And so with that mentality, it’s just certain hardware that you expect to pick up along the way. And if you don’t, you’d be seriously disappointed. That’s just an expectation that we have here in Pittsburgh.”
Tomlin, 49, broke a tie with Marty Schottenheimer, who went 14 straight seasons .500 or better with the Browns (1984-97). Winning Super Bowls is the goal, however, with Tomlin’s first and only as head coach coming in Super Bowl XLIII.
Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin looks up at the videoboard as he stands with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and wide receiver Chase Claypool during the Bengals game, Nov. 28, 2021, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Aaron Doster)
Since that night in Tampa, Pittsburgh has been close, but has been back just once. Chances of making this year’s playoffs are slim, with many scenarios needing to go the Steelers’ way. If the Steelers take care of business in Baltimore, they will need the Colts (9-7) to lose and the Chargers (9-7) and Raiders (9-7) to play to any result other than a tie.