Steelers HC Mike Tomlin downplays record 15th season in a row of .500 or better

The afterglow of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Monday night win over the Cleveland Browns was all about the revelry surrounding Ben Roethlisberger’s presumed final home game at Heinz Field.

The game itself, from Pittsburgh’s perspective, was very much about the burgeoning presence of running back Najee Harris and the dominance of pass rusher T.J. Watt.

Tucked behind all those storylines was the continued and historic statistical success of head coach Mike Tomlin.

By virtue of Pittsburgh’s 26-14 victory, Tomlin was ensured of a 15th straight season finishing at .500 or above.

It is the longest such streak to begin a head coach’s career, breaking a tie with Marty Schottenheimer (Cleveland Browns, 1984-1997). It is also the third-longest streak at any point in a head coach’s tenure, trailing only Tom Landry with Dallas (21 seasons) and Bill Belichick with New England (19), per NFL Research.

Tomlin downplayed the achievement on Tuesday, though, noting that advancing to the playoffs and winning a Super Bowl remains the aspiration each and every season.

“Not as I sit here today, and I say that humbly,” Tomlin answered when asked if the accomplishment was meaningful to him, 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.

“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, and his Steelers still have a chance to qualify for the playoffs this season, albeit a slim one. Pittsburgh (8-7-1) would need to win Sunday versus the Baltimore Ravens (8-8) and would need the Indianapolis Colts (9-7) to lose along with the Los Angeles Chargers (9-7) and Las Vegas Raiders (9-7) to play to a result other than a tie.

Tomlin sits at 153-85-2 in the regular season over 15 campaigns with the Steelers and 8-8 in the playoffs.

There’s a shot at a winning season and a long shot at making the playoffs. Tomlin has already accomplished something no other head coach has done to start his coaching career, but it’s the quest for advancing to a third career Super Bowl and winning a second Super Bowl ring that remains the top priority for him.

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