The Pittsburgh Steelers are an organization who isn’t accustomed to missing the playoffs on a regular basis. With that being said, they certainly aren’t used to missing the postseason on consecutive years, as that hasn’t happened since the 1998-2000 seasons.
After a disappointing 8-8 finish in 2012, you would have to think that if something similar occurs in 2013 that heads are going to have to roll.
If that’s the case, could Mike Tomlin be at the top of the chopping block?
On the chance that the Steelers sit this postseason out, there will be a lot of finger pointing and call for changes going on. As any head coach is in professional sports, Tomlin will be the first one to blame for the Steelers failures, whether it is deservingly so or not.
That’s part of the territory for a coach like Tomlin, but it also could mean that 2013 is a must win season for him.
It won’t be easy though.
Tomlin and the Steelers will be challenged to prove that their 8-8 campaign of a season ago was a fluke.
If the Steelers are to turn things around, they will have to do so with a mix of aging stars and an infusion of young blood. Things will look great if the likes of Ben Roethlisberger, Troy Polamalu and others stay healthy for an entire 16-game season. Things will also look very bright if the selections of Jarvis Jones, Le’Veon Bell and Markus Wheaton pay off quickly.
But what if they don’t?
You have to think that an 8-8 or worse season won’t be acceptable for Tomlin and his staff.
That alone begs the question of if that does happen, should Tomlin’s job be on the line?
Personally I don’t think so just yet.
The 2013 season could be a strange one for the Steelers. Not only do they have unproven talent having to play a lot of positions, but they once again don’t have the greatest depth. There’s not much the coach can do about that. The bottom line is that talent wins games, and at least on paper the Steelers don’t have the greatest talent in the world.
That has led to them playing a role reversal of sorts.
The Steelers — one of the league’s most consistent winners for a decade — are not only chasing the champion Baltimore Ravens but also an emerging Cincinnati Bengals team coming off back-to-back playoff seasons. In addition, many experts are picking the Cleveland Browns to finish ahead of the Steelers, which on paper has them looking like the worst team in the division.
Sure there will be some pressure on Tomlin, but I don’t think his job is on the line just yet.
However, the pressure to produce a contender has turned up a notch after the first non-winning season since Bill Cowher’s last season in 2006 (8-8).
If that happens again, at the very minimum Tomlin’s seat will be very warm, although it likely won’t cost him his job, although many out there may hope it would.
For Tomlin’s sake as well as his job security, there’s only one way to prevent all of that from happening.
To steal a line from the late Al Davis- “Just Win Baby.”