Recent Posts

Steelers Closing In On An NFL First

Chuck Noll, Bill Cowher, and Mike Tomlin have combined to win 6 Super Bowl Championships. Photo courtesy of

Chuck Noll, Bill Cowher, and Mike Tomlin have combined to win 6 Super Bowl Championships. Photo courtesy of

Not many NFL franchises can boast of having one head coach who has won 100 games or more for them, let alone have two of them. After next season, the Pittsburgh Steelers just might have three head coaches in their history that will have hit the century mark in career wins, all with the Steelers. What is even more impressive is that the mark will have been reached by their third head coach in a row. Since 1970, the Steelers have had only three head coaches, the fewest of any franchise by far. Chuck Noll was hired in 1969, Bill Cowher replaced Noll in 1992, and Mike Tomlin replaced Bill Cowher in 2007. From 1969-1991, Chuck Noll won 193 regular season games for the Steelers, Bill Cowher won 149 games from 1992-2006, and Mike Tomlin has won 86 from 2007-Present.

This coaching triplet also achieved another odd mark in 2010 when the Steelers became just the second NFL franchise, and the first in the AFC (Dallas did it in the NFC with Landry-Johnson-Switzer), to have three consecutive head coaches win a Super Bowl Championship. The last three Steeler head coaches have had an average tenure of 15.3 years. Think about that for a minute, then consider that over the same period of time, the Cleveland Browns have had 17 head coaches, or a new coach every 2.01 years. The Steelers also lead the NFL in coaching wins since 1970 — in the last 46 years, Noll, Cowher and Tomlin have combined for 428 regular season wins, while the 17 Cleveland Browns head coaches have combined for 253. In another comparison, let ?s use the NFL ?s second choice to be ?America ?s Team ?, the Dallas Cowboys. Since 1969, the Cowboys have had 8 coaches, or a new coach every 5.75 years. Those 8 coaches combined for 386 wins. So that ?s 175 more wins that the Steelers’ three head coaches have over the Browns 17, and 46 wins more than the Cowboys 8 head coaches.

For the Steelers, the formula used to hire Noll, Cowher, and Tomlin was the same. They chose a young, relatively obscure defensive assistant with a clear vision on how to build a team through the draft. While all of their coaching styles have been different, they all have had one thing in common — a team first philosophy. How much different might things have been if the first candidate approached in 1969, Joe Paterno, had taken the job? I ?m sure the Steelers would have certainly improved by comparison to where they had been, but not nearly to level as it stands today. It was definitely a blessing in disguise when Paterno said no, because Chuck Noll ?s vision is what the Steelers needed. It was his vision that became the Steeler Way, which has become the standard which has stood the test of time.

When Mike Tomlin eclipses 100 regular season wins with the Steelers, and becomes their third consecutive head coach to reach that milestone, it may be the only time it will ever happen. Anything is possible though, and sure, another NFL franchise might end up with 3 different coaches who win 100 games with them. I would, however, place the odds of having three consecutive coaches accomplishing that, somewhere between the Cleveland Browns winning a Super Bowl and Johnny Manziel being the Super Bowl MVP in that game. Hopefully, when Mike Tomlin gets his 100th career win with the Steelers, and becomes the third straight coach to get there, the franchise as a whole gets the credit they deserve. It may not get them a trophy, or any other kind of award, but what it means is that for the last 46 years, no other franchise has done it better in the front office, on the field, and along the sidelines.

About Brian Harker (31 Articles)
Brian is a Steelers contributor to the Point of Pittsburgh. Born in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, he currently lives in Wheatfield, Indiana where he is a steelworker at ArcelorMittal USA. Brian is a blogger/Co-owner of Pittsburgh Sports Forum and

4 Comments on Steelers Closing In On An NFL First

  1. Jamie Barnhart // October 27, 2015 at 1:43 PM // Reply

    First, love the leather hat! I have the same one. Second, since the average team wins over 120 games in 15.3 seasons, wouldn’t it be more impressive to have 3 consecutive coaches with winning percentages over 56, as the Steelers do? Any ownership can be patient if that is their main intention. A high success rate by 3 consecutive coaches seems more impressive to me (Cowher and Tomlin both over 62%!).

    • Thanks, I love the hat too. My kids got for me for father’s day a few years back. That’s a pretty darn good point about the win percentage. I’ll have to edit this and add that in there, thanks.

      • Jamie Barnhart // October 27, 2015 at 2:44 PM // Reply

        Side note: I love the article on Chuck Noll! What a shame that while he was winning those championships, he wasn’t winning coach of the year. The reasoning was that even a decent coach could’ve won with all that talent. But he was a huge part of drafting those players, training them up, and as you pointed out so excellently, changing the entire culture of Steelers football that made winning that way an achievable expectation!

        • Funny thing about him not getting coach of the year, just like our offense, Phil Simms at the beginning of the year said that anyone could play quarterback with the talent that the Steelers have. Well, Vick and Landry both had issues putting points on the board with that talent. I doubt another head coach wins 4 Super Bowls in 6 years if they were coaching the Steelers. Noll knew how to get the best out of those Steelers, just like Ben knows how to use his weapons. Noll should have been coach of the year at least 3 times.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.