Mike Tomlin (Jan. 16, 2024) [1296x729]
Mike Tomlin (Jan. 16, 2024) [1296x729] (Credit: AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

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PITTSBURGH -- Mike Tomlin, the NFL's longest-tenured coach, has received an extension from the Pittsburgh Steelers that puts him under contract through the 2027 season.

Tomlin, entering his 18th season at the helm of the Steelers, signed a three-year extension, the team announced Monday. Before the new agreement, Tomlin was entering the final year of a three-year extension signed in 2021.

"Mike Tomlin's leadership and commitment to the Steelers have been pivotal to our success during his first 17 years as head coach," Steelers president Art Rooney II said in a statement. "Extending his contract for three more years reflects our confidence in his ability to guide the team back to winning playoff games and championships, while continuing our tradition of success."

The extension comes after a tumultuous season that saw a slew of rumors about Tomlin's future in Pittsburgh amid a puzzling late-season, three-game losing streak followed by a rebound winning streak and a playoff berth with 2022 first-round quarterback Kenny Pickett benched for longtime backup Mason Rudolph. Those rumors, including the possibility that Tomlin could take a year off from coaching, intensified when he declined to answer a question about his future, walking off the podium to unceremoniously end his news conference after a wild-card loss to the Buffalo Bills in the midst of the question.

"I certainly could have handled that situation better than I did," Tomlin said at another news conference a couple of days later. "But I'll also say this: I just believe there's a time and place for everything and postgame press conferences are probably not the place to address contract issues and things of that nature. It's just a very individual thing and on game day, I doubt any of us are in that mindset."

In that season wrap-up news conference, Tomlin expressed a desire to remain in Pittsburgh and said he expected to get a contract extension. Tomlin then addressed the rumors that he was burned out and said he never told anyone he planned to take a year away from coaching.

He also doubled down on his desire to continue coaching.

"It was probably intensified, to be quite honest with you, man," Tomlin said of his "level of go" entering Year 18. "I just see things with greater clarity through experience, and so it's probably intensified."

Tomlin, hired in 2007 as only the third Steelers head coach since 1969, has famously never had a losing season, and his 173 regular-season victories are second in franchise history to Chuck Noll's 193. If Tomlin continues his streak of non-losing seasons through the three-year extension, he'll surpass Noll as the organization's winningest head coach.

The Steelers have an active streak of 20 straight non-losing seasons and can tie the Dallas Cowboys (1965-85) for the NFL record of most consecutive seasons with another such season in 2024.

Although he's had unprecedented regular-season success, Tomlin hasn't had a playoff win since 2016. The Steelers are 0-4 in postseason appearances since then, including wild-card losses in 2020, 2021 and 2023.

But in explaining why he was still right man for the job in January, Tomlin was passionate in expressing his desire to change the team's recent playoff fortunes.

"I'm not lacking confidence in my ability to do the job, while at the same time there's frustration because I want that confetti for this group," Tomlin said. "And so, whatever we got to do to do it, whatever changes need to be made, I'm open to it.

Since then, Tomlin hired former Atlanta Falcons head coach Arthur Smith as offensive coordinator, filling the job that was vacated when Matt Canada was fired midseason. The Steelers also signed quarterback Russell Wilson in free agency, traded Pickett to the Philadelphia Eagles and sent a conditional sixth-round pick to the Chicago Bears for former first-round quarterback Justin Fields. The team also bolstered the defense by signing inside linebacker Patrick Queen in free agency and continued the overhaul of the offensive line by using their first two picks in the 2024 NFL draft to add to that group.

"I am appreciative for this contract extension and thankful for Art Rooney II for his support during my first 17 years in Pittsburgh," Tomlin said in Monday's statement. "We are continuing to work diligently to get back to where we belong -- sustained playoff success with the ultimate goal of winning the franchise's seventh Lombardi Trophy.

"I am very excited to get the 2024 season underway and provide our fans with a memorable year."