First Call: Mike Tomlin Rated NFL’s 2nd Best Coach; teams show interest in former Steelers DB

Friday’s “First Call” rebukes Pro Football Talk’s NFL head coaching rankings, which place Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin in second place.

We also find out who might sign former Steeler Arthur Maulet and what Steelers connection exists in the new ownership of the Washington Commanders.

Plus, a new professional sports team in Pittsburgh makes its hometown debut Sunday.

Did you know he has never had a losing season?

Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio is making a list of the Top 10 NFL coaches, and this week he revealed that Steelers coach Mike Tomlin is No. 2 overall. Florio called him “underrated” during his analysis.

Frankly, I think anyone who rates Tomlin that high is overrating him — especially when you consider that Florio has him ahead of New England’s Bill Belichick and only behind Kansas City’s Andy Reid.

Keep in mind that Belichick has gotten the better of Tomlin nine out of 12 times. It won’t say anything about their career CV. For Belichick, that means 30 playoff wins, six Super Bowl wins, nine AFC crowns and 17 division titles.

Tomlin has one Super Bowl ring, two AFC championships, eight overall playoff wins and seven AFC North titles.

None of those playoff wins have come in the past six seasons. Five of those eight playoff wins occurred before 2011. Four of his last five seasons have ended with nine wins or less. And he has failed to win a playoff game in 12 of his 16 seasons as a head coach — losing a home playoff game four times in that span and a fifth as a team with a better road record (at Denver during the 2011 playoffs)

And before you play “Well, Belichick had the Tom Brady card,” remember that for most of those years, Tomlin had Ben Roethlisberger as his quarterback.

Does that qualify Tomlin as the second best coach in the NFL? Really?

It’s amazing to me how staying just above mediocrity endears Tomlin so much to members of the national media. The “he’s never had a losing season” thing is such a lazy analysis to me.

It’s almost as if the national media deliberately prefers to avoid looking deeper into that statistic because they know that further examination of it would expose the narrative they’ve built about Tomlin outside of Pittsburgh.

A narrative that – apparently – now extends to the extent that he is a better coach than Belichick.


Tomlin is a good coach. He hasn’t been a big in a decade. Certainly not the second best in the NFL.

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Steelers tie

The big NFL news on Thursday was the completion of the Washington Commanders sale from Daniel Snyder to a group led by Josh Harris, which also includes NBA legend Magic Johnson.

The transaction cost a cool $6.05 billion.

Harris has been a minority owner of the Steelers. He will now have to sell his shares in the Pittsburgh franchise. Jimmy Haslam (Cleveland Browns) and David Tepper (Carolina Panthers) also used to be minority owners of the Steelers before moving on to become primary owners of other NFL clubs.

As points out, Harris has owned a stake in the Steelers of less than 5% since 2020. The website goes on to state (via Statista) that the Steelers were valued at $3 billion in 2020 and are currently worth $3.975 billion, allowing Harris to make close to a 133% return on his David Blitz investment partner’s 133% return.

Next move for Maulet?

Steelers defensive back Arthur Maulet is still looking for a new home. Maulet was cut by the Steelers in May.

But according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, at least two teams — the Jacksonville Jaguars and Chicago Bears — have an interest.

With the NFL Draft underway, the Steelers signed Chandon Sullivan away from the Minnesota Vikings. He will now likely get reps at slot cornerback.

During his two years in Pittsburgh, Maulet tallied 106 tackles, one interception, four pass breakups and two forced fumbles.

Great debut

The Premier Rugby Sevens (PR7s) league comes to Pittsburgh on Sunday for the 2023 Eastern Conference Finals. We profiled the league here on Breakfast With Benz last month.

The Pittsburgh Steeltoes men’s and women’s rugby clubs will host the event at Highmark Stadium at 3pm on Sunday. It’s a festival-like tournament that features men’s and women’s teams for the Steeltoes, as well as competitors from Texas, Memphis and New York.

Heading into the conference finals, the expansion Steeltoes men’s and women’s teams are in third place in their conference. At the conclusion of the Eastern Conference Finals, the top two teams in the men’s and women’s divisions qualify for the 2023 PR7s Championship in Washington, DC on August 6. Winning both games in Pittsburgh for either the men’s or women’s team will guarantee their spot in the championship.

The PR7s tournaments will comprise a series of eight 14-minute games, rotating between men’s and women’s competitions on the same day.

Each event will select a male and female winner. The season-long competition will build towards the 2023 Championship Tournament, where one franchise will take home the 2023 PR7s United Championship.

Tim Benz is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tim at [email protected] or via Twitter. All tweets could be reset. All e-mails are subject to publication unless otherwise stated.

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