June 15, 2024

Orchard Park, New York. The Pittsburgh Steelers’ latest one-and-done postseason participation has sparked speculation about Mike Tomlin’s future.

The NFL’s longest-tenured coach was in no mood to discuss it Monday night.

Tomlin stepped off the platform during his postgame press conference after a 31-17 defeat to the Buffalo Bills when a reporter said, “Mike, you have a year left on your contract.”

The unexpected leave fueled concerns about Tomlin’s future with the Steelers. He has been in charge there for 17 seasons, giving him the NFL’s longest-tenured head coach after Bill Belichick left New England last week.

He has never had a losing season — an NFL record — but this year came close.

Steelers' Tomlin abruptly leaves press conference when asked about his  contract | WJTV

The Steelers were unable to overcome early blunders and the absence of top pass rusher T.J. Watt against Buffalo, and now the team has gone seven years since it last won a playoff game.

The team competed in their NFL-leading 63rd postseason game since 1970 and is used to competing for Super Bowl titles. However, the Steelers (10-8) went one-and-done for their fourth straight postseason campaign.

This season, the Steelers saw unprecedented turbulence under Tomlin, with the resignation of offensive coordinator Matt Canada and multiple crucial injuries, including those to starting quarterback Kenny Pickett and safety Minkah Fitzpatrick.

Pittsburgh recovered from a three-game losing streak to win three straight and go to the playoffs. However, after finishing behind AFC North rivals Baltimore and Cleveland, as well as conference foes Buffalo, the Steelers face an uncertain summer.

“Every player in there wouldn’t be anything without Mike T,” said Cameron Heyward, the defense captain. “Without Mike T., this team would be unable to get to the playoffs. “I wouldn’t want to play for another coach.”

Mason Rudolph’s efforts helped the Steelers win their final three regular-season games, earning them the seventh seed in the AFC playoffs. However, the backup quarterback failed in his first postseason action, despite the fact that the snowy weather had little impact.

 

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