Mike Tomlin Cemented His Legacy as a Black Head Coach in the NFL

There’s only one undefeated team remaining in the NFL, and that’s the Pittsburgh Steelers. Led by head coach Mike Tomlin, the Steelers have started the season off 7-0 after defeating the Baltimore Ravens in Week 8 of the 2020 season.

Tomlin has been the head coach for the Steelers for 13 years, and he has had success with the team. After the Steelers’ recent win over the Ravens, Tomlin made history as a Black head coach.

Tomlin started his coaching career as a wide receivers coach

Tomlin played football in college at the College of William and Mary. As a wide receiver, he was a second-team All-Yankee Conference selection in 1994. After his playing career, Tomlin became a coach. In 1995, he was named the wide receivers coach at Virginia Military Institute. Over the next four years, he served in a different role as a coach for multiple schools.

Other than a wide receivers coach, Tomlin served as a graduate assistant and a defensive backs coach. He made stops at Memphis and Arkansas State after his time at VMI. In 1999, he became the defensive backs coach at the University of Cincinnati for two seasons. He went on to make his NFL coaching debut during the 2001 season as the defensive backs coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 

Tomlin was a part of the Buccaneers’ Super Bowl-winning team during the 2002 season. After five seasons in Tampa Bay, Tomlin became the defensive coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings for the 2006 season. 

Mike Tomlin became a head coach in 2007

After one year as the defensive coordinator in Minnesota, the Steelers hired Tomlin as their new head coach. Tomlin became the 10th African-American head coach and the first in the history of the Steelers’ franchise. In his first season as head coach, he led the Steelers to a 10-6 record as they lost to the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC Wild Card Game. The 2008 season was a big one for Tomlin. That season the Steelers finished the season 12-4 and advanced to the Super Bowl.

The Steelers defeated the Arizona Cardinals in the Super Bowl, and Tomlin became the youngest head coach to win a Super Bowl at 36. During his time as head coach of the Steelers, the team has never posted a losing record. The best season that the Steelers had under Tomlin came in 2017 when they finished 13-3 and lost to the Jaguars in the AFC Divisional Game. Tomlin has worked hard to get to where he is today, and he has had success as a head coach.

Mike Tomlin has the most wins in NFL history as a black head coach


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The Steelers are playing some of their best football under Tomlin. Pittsburgh currently has the best record in the league at 7-0. After an impressive win over the Ravens, Tomlin recorded his 140th victory as a head coach. That moved him past Tony Dungy for the most wins by a Black head coach in NFL history.

Tomlin has won many games during his time in Pittsburgh, and that’s something that he plans on continuing to do. The Steelers are set to have another winning season under Tomlin. That is very impressive for a team to go that long without a losing season under one coach. Tomlin is helping pave the way for young Black coaches out there who have dreams of one day coaching in the league.