Mike Tomlin made it clear Tuesday: You won’t see him on the sidelines at USC, LSU or any other top-tier college football program anytime soon.
Tomlin’s name was most recently connected to the USC gig on Monday when former Trojans star Carson Palmer said the Steelers coach was among the front-runners for the job.
Palmer referred to Tomlin as “a wild card” in the search and suggested if he wanted out of Pittsburgh, the Trojans may come knocking. Palmer said he’s “as involved in the process as they’ll let me be,” and has provided input and feedback in the coaching search.
Patrick then pressed Palmer about why exactly Tomlin’s name got thrown around.
“That’s what’s great about this job — it can lure an NFL guy that’s tired of their current situation and is worried if Ben Roethlisberger’s gone or if he’s done or who they’re gonna draft,” Palmer said.
When Tomlin addressed the media Tuesday and that question specifically, he made his position known in no uncertain terms.
“That’s a joke to me. I’ve got one of the best jobs in all of professional sports. Why would I have any interest in coaching college football?” Tomlin told reporters. “Never say never, but never. There’s not a booster with a big enough blank check.”
Tomlin’s emphatic denial of his interest in USC or any other college job gained traction and support.
It also led many people to ask why Tomlin’s name is being thrown around for college jobs.
I could be missing an example but I can’t remember a head coach of Tomlin’s stature ever being asked about a college job.
— mike freeman (@mikefreemanNFL) October 26, 2021
it’s been reported that he’s a candidate. the question was reasonable, but so was the frustration. i can’t think of another nfl coach as successful as he’s been who gets thrown in the college rumor mill like he does. https://t.co/VEx9ZxhgmY
— bomani (@bomani_jones) October 26, 2021
Tomlin then posed the same question to reporters to end the news conference, noting that Sean Payton and Andy Reid, two current NFL coaches who are white, never get their names mentioned in these discussions and asked them to consider why that is.
In 15 seasons with the Steelers, Tomlin is 148-81-1, with one Super Bowl win and another berth under his belt. He’s also never finished a season under .500 and is under contract with the team through 2024.
He’s also the winningest Black coach in NFL history and has more career wins (148) than Hall of Famers John Madden, Vince Lombardi, Bill Walsh, Tom Flores and George Allen. He also has more wins than Payton and is third among active coaches in wins.
The Steelers are 3-3 this season and in last place in the AFC North.