Did Mike Tomlin Play in the NFL?

    Did Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin play in the NFL, or did he build his résumé as a college coach before entering the pros?

    Mike Tomlin has been the head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers since 2007. However, unlike many head coaches, Tomlin never played in the NFL. He was a three-year starter as a wide receiver at William & Mary and finished his career with 101 receptions for 2,054 yards and 20 TD catches. Tomlin cut his teeth coaching at the collegiate level before getting a job working in the NFL.

    Mike Tomlin’s Coaching Career

    Tomlin got his start as a coach for the Virginia Military Institute, where he coached wide receivers during the 1995 season. Tomlin then transitioned into working as a graduate assistant for the Memphis Tigers in 1996 before becoming a defensive backs coach for the Arkansas State Red Wolves in 1997.

    Tomlin coached at Arkansas State for two seasons before accepting a job as the defensive backs coach for the University of Cincinnati. Under Tomlin in 2000, Cincinnati’s defense finished eighth in the nation in interceptions.

    After five seasons coaching in college, Tomlin got his start in the NFL when he was hired to be the defensive backs coach under Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Tony Dungy and later Jon Gruden.

    Tomlin helped guide one of the NFL’s best all-time defenses in the 2002 Buccaneers, who went on to win Super Bowl 37. Tomlin stayed in Tampa until 2006.

    Tomlin was hired to be the defensive coordinator of the Minnesota Vikings in 2006. The Vikings did not allow a single 100-yard rusher over the course of that season.

    Tomlin turned his success in Minnesota into being named the head coach of the Steelers in 2007.

    Tomlin was hired at just 35 years old. Despite the historical success of the franchise, Tomlin was the first Steelers head coach to finish with 10 wins and the second to win the division in their first season. Tomlin turned the Steelers into one of the most-feared defenses in the NFL rather quickly.

    Just two years after his hire, the Steelers beat the Arizona Cardinals in Super Bowl 43. Tomlin became the youngest coach in NFL history to win the Super Bowl.

    Tomlin helped coach the Steelers back to the Super Bowl a year later, where they lost to the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl 44.

    MORE: 2023 NFL Head Coach Rankings

    While Tomlin hasn’t been back to a Super Bowl since, he has led the Steelers to seven playoff berths. Remarkably, Tomlin has yet to finish with a losing record as an NFL head coach. Tomlin has an overall coaching record of 163-93.

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