Roundup: Steelers got it right by hiring Tomlin

The Steelers faced a fair amount of skepticism when they announced on Jan. 22, 2007, that Mike Tomlin would replace Bill Cowher as the third head coach in the storied franchise’s history.

Tomlin was just 34 years old at the time of his hiring. And while he had a decent amount of NFL experience — he spent 2001 to 2005 as the Buccaneers’ defensive backs coach — his only season in a coordinator’s role was in 2006, guiding the Vikings’ defense to an eighth overall ranking. Apparently, that was enough to convince the Rooney family.

After Tomlin led Pittsburgh to its sixth Super Bowl championship in February, the St. Paul Pioneer Press writes that, despite questions regarding his age and experience, the coach has proven he was the right man for the job all along:

Still, after the Vikings’ defense ranked eighth in the NFL in 2006 — its highest position since the 1994 season — Tomlin was a somewhat surprising choice to replace Bill Cowher in Pittsburgh.

“I was a little shocked,” Vikings linebacker Ben Leber said. “No doubt he had the characteristics of a head coach. But I was surprised from an experience standpoint, because he had been a coordinator for only one year.”

Yet the decision by the Rooney family to make Tomlin only the Steelers’ third head coach was reinforced in February when, at 37, he became the youngest head coach in NFL history to lead his team to a Super Bowl ring.

Other stories around the Web on Thursday:

  • The Bills were big on QB Ryan Fitzpatrick when he came out of Harvard in 2005 and likely will find out Sunday against the Panthers if they were right about him.
  • Raiders coach Tom Cable makes no secret about the fact that he likes RB Justin Fargas.
  • Because RB Maurice Jones-Drew’s workload is so heavy, the Jaguars are looking for help.
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