Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin's remarkable and record-setting streak of non-losing seasons will extend into the 2023 campaign.
Tomlin's Steelers finished 9-8 in 2022 and increased Tomlin's NFL-record streak of non-losing seasons to begin his career to 16. The feat was made possible largely by marked improvement after a tumultuous start of the season. It was advancement that was lauded by team owner and president Art Rooney II.
"Even though we fell short of making the playoffs this year, the second half of the season was encouraging," Rooney said Thursday via the team website's Dale Lolley. "Obviously, we still have a lot of areas we need to improve on, but I liked the way the team kept fighting down the stretch and kept ourselves alive."
A major reason the Steelers were alive for a postseason berth until the final day of the regular season was Tomlin's ability to rally the troops. The veteran head coach's prowess coaching 'em up not only kept Pittsburgh's playoff hopes breathing, but it stoked optimism for next season and added on to the aforementioned record-setting start to his career.
Tomlin recorded his 15th straight non-losing season in 2021 to break a tie with the late, great Marty Schottenheimer for the most in league history, and he and his squad extended the milestone this past year. Along with Tomlin's streak extending, so did the Pittsburgh franchise's run of 19 years without a losing season, which is now tied for second all time with the New England Patriots (2001-2019). That streak dates back to 2004 and the final three seasons in Hall of Famer Bill Cowher's career.
"I think the No. 1 thing I always want to see in a team, and I think that it's up to the coach to make this happen, is get better as the season goes on," Rooney said. "I mean, you should be your best team at the end of the season. I thought we did that, bringing a rookie quarterback (Kenny Pickett) along. There's no one way to do it right. I think we wind up with a rookie quarterback who got better as the season went on. And I think we're excited about the future because of that. So you know, I think those things are encouraging the way Mike handled them."
Tomlin's Steelers have had three 8-8 seasons in his tenure, but never a losing year. That didn't change despite a Pittsburgh rebuild, as Tomlin turned in one of his more impressive coaching efforts even if it came up just short of a postseason berth.
The Steelers rebounded from a dismal 2-6 start with six victories over a seven-game span to end yet another impressive campaign for Tomlin and Pittsburgh, and Rooney took notice.
"I think you want to see a team improve over the course of the season, start to finish no matter what your record is, that's what you're shooting for is to get better as the season goes on," Rooney said. "And I thought we did that."