When Bill Cowher left the Steelers two seasons ago, I felt that it would take a really long time to find a guy that could fire up a team and lead a team as well as he did for his many years in Pittsburgh.
No doubt, Cowher is a tough act to follow.
I kept hearing that it would be Russ Grimm or Ken Whisenhunt who would be the most likely people to take up the head-coaching job. But then, as a huge shock to many, the Steelers hired Mike Tomlin, a young defensive coordinator from the Minnesota Vikings, to coach the team.
Now, I had never heard of this guy, and I had my doubts going into last year. But in his rookie head coaching season, he led the Steelers to the playoffs with a 10-6 record.
He has done some magnificent things for the Pittsburgh Steelers, and is only 36 years old, one year older than the Steelers' oldest player Orpheus Roye, 35, and about half as old as the Steelers defensive coordinator Dick Lebeau, 70.
And he wasn't given the easiest job either, with the Steelers going 8-8 the previous year. But Mike Tomlin improved many of the things the Steelers had struggled with in the past.
Steelers Pass Defense
The Steelers pass defense has never been known to be as great as their rush defense, but when Mike Tomlin came in, he began to change that. And he couldn't have been a better fit for the Steelers since he was a defensive coordinator in Minnesota and a defensive back coach in Tampa.
He took what was once the downfall of the Steelers, not being able to defend the pass, and turned it into the one of the team's main strengths. The Steelers pass defense is currently ranked No. 1 in the league.
There is no doubt that Mike Tomlin caused this turnaround, and it has the helped the Steelers defense rank first in all the major categories.
Steelers Special Teams
It used to be that whenever the Steelers would kickoff, I ,and many Pittsburgh fans that I know, could not watch the kick because none of us wanted to see the other team return it for a TD. It was a distinct possibility on almost every kickoff, especially when a guy like Joshua Cribbs would be returning it.
And most if the time, the other team was given great field position, because the Steelers' special teams just could not tackle them.
I have noticed that now on kickoffs, the Steelers' special teams' players are quickly getting down field and are tackling better and stopping the opponent sometimes before they even reach the 20.
Mike Tomlin has really changed the Steelers for the better and I hope he continues to make good decisions and help the Steelers win another championship. I am starting to really like him as the coach.
And I actually think he could win coach of the year, but with other coaches like Jeff Fisher, Tony Sparano, and John Harbaugh, it will definitely be difficult for Tomlin to get the award.
Hopefully, the Mike Tomlin Mojo can take the Steelers to the Super Bowl in February.