Florio: Why Steelers won't fire Mike Tomlin


Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio joined Tom E. Curran on our latest Quick Slants Podcast to dish on a variety of topics, including the job security of long-time Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, under scrutiny once again as Pittsburgh comes into Sunday's matchup with the Patriots on a three-game losing streak.

As Florio reminds Curran, not firing coaches has been an evergreen source of pride with the organization. But he also admits, it wouldn't hurt to soften their stance on the matter.

"It's become that thing you take unreasonable pride in and maybe shouldn’t," Florio said. "Like hey, if all else fails, at least we can retreat to the position that we don’t fire our coaches. Well you know what, maybe sometimes you need to fire coaches."

Florio reminds, too, that contrary to public perception, it wasn't always this way in the Steel City. Prior to Chuck Noll's hiring in 1969, the Steelers had gone through four coaches in 15 seasons. And Noll's exit in 1991 "wasn't all that voluntary", Florio says, adding, "They didn’t fire him in the classic sense, but they were done with him."

Consistenly playing meaningful games into December over the last 25 years, first under Bill Cowher and for the last 12 years under Tomlin, has certainly made this disposition against firing coaches easy.

"If they had three years where they weren’t relevant past Thanksgiving, at some point the fans are going to revolt," Florio said. "And they can huff and puff all they want — and they seem to huff and puff quickly whenever Mike Tomlin struggles — if they ever blow the house down financially, that’s when the Steelers would have to revisit this point of pride that they never fire coaches. You don’t need to fire coaches if you don’t have to placate a fanbase that is voting with its wallets."

Florio goes on to praise Steelers GM Kevin Colbert, saying he doesn't get the credit he deserves in part due to his low-profile demeanor, and that Ben Roethlisberger too may not get enough credit for his legacy -- but that he has nobody to blame but himself, alluding to the off-field incidents that eventually earned him a six-game suspension from the NFL during the 2010 season.

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