Whisenhunt's contract puts Steelers in tough spot

It was only three years ago that Mike Tomlin beat the Whiz, Ken Whisenhunt, for the Steelers head coaching job,. Then he beat him in the Super Bowl.

But Whisenhunt beat Tomlin to getting a contract extension first this offseason.  And while it hardly makes up for losing a championship game, Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette points out that Whisenhunt’s new deal makes life tougher on Steelers president Art Rooney II.

The Steelers don’t overpay anyone, including their coaches.  Whisenhunt just got $6 million-per-season in Arizona.  That’s likely more than the Steelers were planning to pay, yet Tomlin’s resume would indicate he’s worth more than Whisenhunt.

Cook thought a contract extension for Tomlin was an automatic this offseason, but now isn’t so sure.  Ultimately, logic says an agreement should get done.

Tomlin knows he’s got a great job, and the Steelers know they have a good coach.  Tomlin may just have to take less money than Whisenhunt to seal the deal.

50 responses to “Whisenhunt's contract puts Steelers in tough spot

  1. Tomlin did not BEAT WHIZ in the superbowl.
    The Steelers simply cheated their way to the superbowl title.
    The defining play was Harrison’s INT return for a TD. Clearly there was a block in the back on #34 of the cardinals at the 32 yard line, however the ref was 15 yards behind the play and had no chance of seeing it.
    Get rid of hte grandpa refs!!

  2. How does anyone figure Tomlin is worth more? He was on the verge of being fired this offseason due to not be capable of handling locker room issues with his team and them blowing what was expected to be a solid season and a playoff run. Whisenhunt had to turn a team around (5-11 prior to his hiring and 7 seasons with 10 + losses) and has taken that team to an 8-8 (2007), a SB (2008 losing) and back to the playoffs again (2009).
    If you feel that Tomlins achievements and the work he has done in Pittsburgh is better than that of KW, then you are smoking much better crack than the average Pittsburgh bum. Tomlin had Super Bowl talent and a Super Bowl gameplan all laid out for him. Ken Whisenhunt had to put in the work to turn a perennial loser into an annual winner!

  3. “Tomlin’s resume would indicate he’s worth more than Whisenhunt”.
    I don’t see it that way at all. Tomlin was handed a superbowl team. He won the big game but he also blew two seasons. There were a number of BAD coaching decisions that cost them games.
    They didn’t even make the playoffs this past season.
    Whisenhunt has been much more impressive. He was handed a horrible Cardinbals team, and look at what he has done.

  4. I don’t think Tomlin’s resume necessarily indicates that he’s worh more than Whisenhunt…
    Yes, Tomlin won the Super Bowl, and has been impressive as the Steelers coach. However, he won the Super Bowl with a team someone else built, and the Steelers seriously regressed this year (yes Troy was out most of the season, but you can never blame a collapse like the Steelers had on one player).
    While Whiz took one of the worst franchises, in the history of the NFL, led by one of the cheapest owners in pro sports, and totally changed their culture. In three seasons he has 2 division titles and a Super Bowl appearance. Whiz has the Cardinals expecting to win.
    Tomlin has done a good job leading a historically great team, with historically great ownership.
    Whiz took perrenial losers and transformed them into championship contenders.
    Now, who do you think deserves the better contract??

  5. Coach Tomlin is not a fool. He realizes that he has not only the best job in the NFL, but perhaps in ALL of professional sports, in terms of working for owners who are more than fair. He will be paid handsomely and SHOULD understand that just because the Cards overpaid for Whisenhunt doesn’t mean the Steelers will beat that amount. Bill Cowher never bitched when he wanted Whisenhunt type money because he simply knew that isn’t the Steeler way and the management will simply perform excessive due dilligence in finding a replacement, if need be.

  6. Tomlin lucked out and was given a super bowl ready team that Cowher built, he’s not a great coach, Wisenhunt is better.

  7. I’m not sure Tomlin is worth more. Whiz started with a lot worse situation and has won 4 playoff games. Tomlin has won 3. Obviously the Super Bowl is huge, but the other two years were unimpressive. Know any other coaches who have TWICE taken a team that won the Super Bowl and failed to make the playoffs the following year?

  8. “superbowl
    Tomlin did not BEAT WHIZ in the superbowl.
    The Steelers simply cheated their way to the superbowl title.”
    What a whiney loser.
    What is wrong with you people? Can’t your pathetic, fragile egos take it when another team proves better than your team? People moan every year after the Super Bowl about how the winning side didn’t actually deserve to win. This year with the Saints, last year with the Steelers, etc.
    It’s a sad commentary on the state of our culture that so many people are spoiled brats. Rather than give credit where credit is due, they kick and scream about things not being fair.
    Grow up.

  9. “DB26
    How does anyone figure Tomlin is worth more? He was on the verge of being fired this offseason due to not be capable of handling locker room issues with his team and them blowing what was expected to be a solid season and a playoff run. ”
    “On the verge of being fired”- complete hyperbole

  10. DB26 you’re delusional.
    Tomlin doesn’t/didn’t have a Hall of Fame QB and Tomlin didn’t have the luxury to coach in the weakest division in the NFL for the past 5 seasons. The Cards barely make the playoffs when their division competition is the lowly Seahawks, the forever rebuilding since Garcia left 49ers and the laughable greatest show on turf for a couple of years in the 90’s Rams.
    If Tomlin was in that division with any team he’d make the playoffs all 3 years as well. I’m not saying the Steelers didn’t underachieve this yr but come on the Cardinals underachieved as well.
    We’ll see how good a coach Whiz is this yr when he has no Warner. Will he still win that laughable division w/o the cushion of a Hall of Fame QB.
    It’s like saying Norv Turner deserves $6M a year for keeping the Chargers in the playoffs in that awful division. Fuggetaboutit!!

  11. You Steeler haters are so sad. We’re reloading to make another run at the Super bowl. Tomlin will take less and remain a Steeler. Boo-Hoo, Steelers are cheaters… brilliant assessment.

  12. DB26 if you think Tomlin was on the verge of being fired you are more out of touch with football and the Steelers than you realize.

  13. With all that being said, Tomlin does have a Superbowl victory and 2 playoff appearances in 3 years. He could have wrecked the team. Give him the money.

  14. I like Tomlin as much as anybody, but outside of the Steelers defense which Dick LeBeau coordinates, the rest of the Steelers team is below average, even with Championship quality talent. The special teams suck and the offense is suspect. Tomlin’s inability to notice how bad Bruce Arians is as an OC maybe his undoing. The Steelers probably would have 2 championships right now had they hired Wisenhunt. The defense would be the same, but they wouldn’t be handicapped by a playstation offensive coordinator.

  15. All of you haters would LOVE to have a franchise like the Steelers in your city, and you know it. Keep on hating though, you’re just fueling the fire. We’re going for SEVEN next year, how about YOUR team?
    When your team has six rings, then you can talk trash. Till then, you should probably support your own team, rather than wasting energy trashing others just cause you got rolled on…

  16. Clearly, the majority of people on here can see that Whiz is actually a better coach. And he is.
    And a lot of people on here (especially Florio) say the cards are cheap and won’t pay.
    But if the steeler fans believe tomlin is a better coach than Whiz, and if the cards are so cheap as they say, then Tomlin will have to make more than 6 million a year right?
    If he does not, he is either not the better coach, or the cards are not as cheap as people say right? It’s one or the other, can’t have your cake and eat it too. I will be watching to see what Tomlin gets.

  17. Longtime reader—first time comment…. You “Steeler Haters” should recognize that every time you claim cheating or otherwise bash the Steelers you only make Steeler Nation smile.
    Before you make a comment…stand up and name YOUR team. Let’s see what your frame of reference is.

  18. Cheap ass Rooneys gotta pay up………..They did, however, follow the Rooney Rule, and will have to again if Tomlin doesn’t tolerate being underpaid…………..
    But I think he will. He couldn’t get another head coaching job, at this point, unless he brings the Steelers again deep into the playoffs. Otherwise he’ll be remembered like Barry switzer, bringing someone else’s team to the big show.

  19. @TIKYLE
    Since when has it been tough for Pittsburgh to win vs. career losers in Cleveland and Cincinnati? Are you calling the AFC North “tough”? If so, mail me some of that orange haired tree you’re rolling buddy. As a Browns fan, I can tell you FOR SURE that our division is not one of the top in football as it used to be.
    And for all of you inbred Pittsburgh duds, Chuck Noll and the Rooney’s set up a system that has worked for them on an annual basis. It is a system that Coach Cowher followed and one that was passed along to Coach Mike Tomlin. Tomlin and his Offensive coaches broke that system by going to a pass happy attack that caused them plenty of losses. This is not a delusional thought, this is pure fact and why there was talk of Tomlin and his offensive staff being fired. You are to be a yes sir coach in Pittsburgh. Their front office sets up the team properly through the draft and FA (mainly depth and low spending through FA). Attack on defense, run the ball effeciently behind an effective line until you force teams to bring 8 and 9 in the box, then attack deep in the passing game. They believe firmly in the thought that defense creates offense. Rarely do they miss in the draft and rarely do they persue top end free agents. Trust me, as a Browns fan, I have envied the proven system that Pittsburgh has had in place for decades. It is simple and it works. A coach really only needs to develop the talent to play the speed of the NFL game and motivate his players to play as a team and win. It is quite simple and extremely effective.
    Whisenhunt had to truely change the dynamic of the Cardinals franchise. And for an idiot to tell me “he went out and grabbed a Pro Bowl QB” is laughable. Do you not recall where Warner was before Arizona? Oh yea, he sucked goat **** in NY for the Giants and nobody wanted to touch him. Whisenhunt, knowing what he had with Boldin, Fitzgerald, and a line that could pass block well, went out and got a QB on his last string that he knew could get rid of the ball quick and was accurate with his passes.
    Do the site a favor, don’t act like the inbred yinzer that runs the site as a knowledge lacking Pissburgh fan. Have a clue about the game and the teams that you are speaking of.
    By the way, is Steely McBeam one of the Village People?

  20. There is simply no way to compare the two. Tomlin walked into a well coached, well disciplined team with outstanding ownership and simply did what was expected…he won. The real question 3 yrs later is if “his” team will match the accomplishments of the team he inherited or if the best is truly behind him. The fact that the Steelers lost 3 games to very poor teams and failed to respond to Tomlins “we won’t go quietly” speech speaks volumes. This is a veteran team that failed to respond when it counted.
    Contrast that to Arizona where Whiz walked into a dysfunctional franchise with a history of failure. The transformation is both amazing and ongoing, both in terms of record but more importantly attitude. While I have no doubt that this year will present serious challenges as the team attempts to remake itself on both sides of the ball the overall depth of the roster and attitude of the players is night and day.
    Unquestionably Whiz has built a culture of accountability, responsibility and a performance based meritocracy that rewards effort on the 6 other days of the week and in the off-season. He has transformed a losing culture into a winning one.
    I think Tomlin is an outstanding coach but he inherited a winning culture and so far hasn’t maintained and nurtured it (based on the uneven results). So while Whiz has clearly demonstrated he can change a culture and build a winner Tomlin has yet to really do so…

  21. Typical, everyone’s jumping on Tomlin after one bad season. Can’t tell if the posters are Steeler fans or just the typical angry, must win now or your fired, NFL fan. It was Tomlin who was able to squeeze a Super Bowl win out of an aging team two years ago. It wasn’t Tomlin who let the Steelers get old at both lines. Tomlin deserves what the market dictates. If the Steelers don’t want to pay, Tomlin can walk and find a team that will pay him what he deserves. In addition, let’s see if the Whiz earns his contract once he’s left with Hollywood Matt to lead his team.

  22. Whiz kicks ass! Look at what he’s done for that franchise. No Warner? No problem, he’s not freaking out, he’ll figure something else out.
    The Steelers are always good and underperformed this year due to locker room issues? That’s cuz it’s not his team. That’s bitch shit. I do like Tomlin, but, no contest.

  23. I can’t believe no one has said this yet since I’m assuming it’s a Seinfeld reference
    “I’m the Whiz, and nobody beats the Whiz!”

  24. My Top 5 reasons for paying Tomlin less money even though he is a better coach:
    1. The Steelers had a better organization
    2. Whisenhunt is in a weaker division/conference
    3. The Steelers haven’t been blown out in any game under Tomlin…all games lost have been close; The Cards have been blown out in several games
    4. Whisenhunt tries and does get several former Steeler players and coaches, any time they can.
    5. They say Tomlin had a superbowl team already….but others still complain that Cowher’s team cheated against the Seahawks. You cant have it both ways. BTW, Switzer beat Cowher in his superbowl win….making you logic Tomlin is worse than Cowher, but Switzer beat Cowher making him better than Cowher. So technicall if Tomlin is remember as a Switzer …he’s still better than Cowher ….right!?!?
    (Prediction) …Tomlin will coach thru his contract …Whisenhunt will not!
    Just some food for thought. Nothing more.

  25. Its funny when people say Tomlin won the SB with Bill’s team or he was handed a SB team. You guys say it like its an insult or a knock on Tomlin. Like what else could he have done that season to not be insulted because of that? Winning the SB is the best you can do and he did it…
    Now last season is a different story because there was a total meltdown and Tomlin did not make the necessary changes to make the playoffs. Yeah the secondary and Oline let him down but he didn’t act like a Head coach he acted like a cheerleader on the sidelines… a very quiet, unemotional, gum chomping one at that.

  26. Hey guys, apologizing for Tomlin does NOT make him a better coach…it only excuses him for his failings. Learn how to bolster your postition.
    Unless it’s used in a possessive form.

  27. Tomlin deserves to get paid.
    He plays for the best franchise in the NFL, and he’s going to take them to the playoffs again next year, and probably win yet another Super Bowl with the team within the next decade.

  28. I’m a Steeler fan, and I believe that Whiz is the better coach. I wish the Steelers would have hired him instead of Tomlin. Tomlin is only in Pittsburgh, because of the Rooney rule. How would it look if the owner that has his name attached to the rule, doesn’t hire a minority the first time (since the rule was put into place) the team needed a new coach? He would look like a hypocrite.
    Tomlin was handed a Superbowl caliber team. In 2007, they had the talent to go all the way, but lacked the heart/motivation/desire. In 2009, they looked very similar. I know they had injuries to key guys, but how did they respond to that “Unleash Hell” remark? Not so well. They Unleashed Hell on Steeler fans, that was about it. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, DON’T OVERPAY THE MAN! Don’t even extend the contract until after this coming season. After 4 total seasons, you should be able to tell if he is the man, or if you need to go in a different direction.

  29. # Karl says: March 2, 2010 11:01 AM
    If the Steelers are cheaters, what does that make the Patriots….super cheaters?
    Hahaha that is by far the best comment in this thread

  30. “He couldn’t get another head coaching job, at this point, unless he brings the Steelers again deep into the playoffs.”
    HAHAHAHA I just got in trouble at work for literally laughing out loud at that comment. If Tomlin was released today there would be SEVERAL teams firing their coach tonight to make room for him.
    Jealously is a bitch trait, being 1 year removed from the Super Bowl requires a lot of hate from people whos teams have not been there in years.

  31. Why do so many people here let there fingers type before they think?
    Bashing Pitt or New England is a joke they have the hardware to prove how good they are.
    No they did not get it by cheating they got it by scoring more points in 60 min.
    Its just like the ahole egal fans that bash the Giants yet they have 3 SB trophies to 0 in philly
    Stop blaming the winners for your losses.
    This is what this country has turned into never my fault always the other guy he cheated he stole its not fair boo hoo

  32. “I’m a Steeler fan, and I believe that Whiz is the better coach”
    Immitating a Steelers fan by using the screen name “Whines_Hard” does not work. You have created an entire account just to bitch about the steelers… its not cool dude get a life

  33. # Stillerz says: March 2, 2010 12:47 PM
    “I’m a Steeler fan, and I believe that Whiz is the better coach”
    Immitating a Steelers fan by using the screen name “Whines_Hard” does not work. You have created an entire account just to bitch about the steelers… its not cool dude get a life
    Just because you don’t agree with me does not make me fake. I can be critical about my team. My name is meant to make fun of Hines. I love him as a player, but he does cry over stupid shit (the tall receiver, Ben’s concussion…) Why is that unheard of? Just because I don’t get on here and defend someone only because of the colors they wear, doesn’t make me fake. In my opinion, I think Whiz is the better coach. I also do not like Dan Rooney. Are you gonna call me a fake for not liking him?
    How many Redskin fans get on here and trash Snyder? Are you going to call them fake? I’d rather give my honest opinion, than waist my time trying to defend someone I don’t personally believe in. I’m not sold on Tomlin yet.

  34. DB26 are you mad this much all the time.
    I see you’re a Browns fan so you have the annual bitter bear face when you watch your team.
    I’m not even a Steelers fan. I hate the Steelers as a matter of fact. I’m a Colts fan.
    But that matters not. Whisenhunt is no better coach than Tomlin either way.
    You can bitch and moan about the NFC North all you want but you cannot deny the fact that even the Browns are better than the Rams and the 9ers and Seahawks do not compare to the Bengals and the Ravens.
    Whisenhunt has won what at most 10 games in that sorry division with superior talent (for the division at least).
    Just give it up. Neither coach is worth $6M a year. If the Cards are paying him to “stay” in the desert then so be it but he is way over paid for what he’s done. Hell if he’s getting $6M then Coughlin should be making $8M for winning anything in NY.

  35. Tomlinson has got to be the most annoying coach on the planet. Hopefully he gets fired from the squeelers and never resurfaces again. He was handed a team that a 12 year old could have coached and won with. In addition to having the most annoying fan base on earth the black and gold also have the most annoying coach. Seems like a match made in heaven.

  36. DieHardSkinsFan21 says: March 2, 2010 3:31 PM
    Tomlinson has got to be the most annoying coach on the planet.
    LOL! Yea, that Tomlinson guy has no business coaching! Maybe we can hire someone like Shanahanigan. Even us “Fake” Steelers fans have to smile at that one!

  37. Steelers fan here…..I love how people say that Tomlin was handed a Super Bowl ready team, just like the Colts coach this year, right? The only difference is that Tomlin was able to motivate a group of men to hoist the Lombardi trophy. (no offense to Colts fans, mucho respect to your organization)
    Cowher could not win a home playoff game, especially the AFC Championship games to save his life. Tomlin did.
    He also drafted/picked up/lost a lot of key pieces to the puzzle including Woodley, Timmons, Mendenhall, Mike Wallace, free agent Mewelde Moore, moved Ike Taylor to a starter after Cowher sat him, lost perennial All Pro’s Alan Faneca, Joey Porter, Jeff Hartings, and Chris Hope.
    He missed the playoffs this year by a tiebreaker, so what!?! Do yinz realize how big the target is on the defending Super Bowl Champion’s back? Probably not, unless your team has been there LOLz.
    Steelers will keep shining up their Lombardi Trophies, your tears are delicious!

  38. Good grief. Can’t remember the last time I’ve seen so much sheer stupidity gathered in one spot. Favorite line so far:
    LawHawk says:
    “Obviously the Super Bowl is huge, but the other two years were unimpressive.”
    Obviously. Huge.
    Honey, we won back the Division Tomlin’s first year after losing it in Cowher’s last, and we went 9-7 in his third year, barely missing the playoffs. How many coaches in the league go umpteen years without even sniffing the playoffs? And Mike Tomlin has not won the Super Bowl TWICE and failed to make the playoffs the following year.
    How two different men are paid by two different organizations with two different ownerships and two different pay scales doesn’t say diddley about which is the better coach. We’ll know that by the hardware they’ve collected by the time they retire. So it’s a silly debate.
    @Bigbluefan … Kudos!! Don’t always agree with you, but that post was perfect.
    @Stillerz … thanks for calling it like it is. ALL knowledgeable Steeler fans criticize the team when necessary, but that guy’s user name speaks volumes.

  39. Has anyone ever thought that the Cards are just overpaying Coach Wiz ? I mean come on its a bad team in the making . Warner gone . Dansby gone , Rolle gone , Trying to trade a top 10 wr ? Yea seems to me if you want to copy a franchise the Cardinals are the one to follow .
    Now for the morons who say Tomlin is overrated is just plain dumb . 3 seasons with all winning seasons . 2 division titles , and a superbowl trophy . Only reason Cowher won a SB was Ben Roethlisberger . Cowher had great teams over the years but until he got Ben , Cowher choked in the playoffs like his teacher . Marty Shottenheimer . All 3 coaches are good in their own ways . Just cause you have Superbowl talent . It doesnt mean any coach can win a Superbowl . Colts this season had the team and choked it away . Look at San Diego , great talented team that never really constantly lives up to its potential . Dallas Cowboys always the hype and never the reward . Look at Mike Shannahan never won anything without Elway . If Shannihan is all that then why hasnt he done better ? How many 2 time SB winning coaches get fired ?
    Steelers never pay and continue to win . WE only pay so much and thats it . If you dont want to take what we pay . You get replaced and the motor just keeps running . 6 Trophies say the Steelers know what they are doing . No one has more and no one has the same . Tomlin will good great money . 5 million isnt enough ? To know you will have great ownership being you even in the bad times . We know what loyalty means . You get a fair chance to do well . It would take Tomlin a minimum of 3 bad losing seasons to get the Steelers to even fire him or think about it . Love us or hate us as a team and fans no one of your teams are as successful . WE will continue to win . How about your TEAM ?

  40. All you people in here are forgetting one important factor. Ken Shisenhunt is in a very crappy division. If he were in a tough division they would not even sniff the play off’s. Let’s all watch the Saints repeat this coming year and then you can talk smack. It is too tough to win back to back in the NEW NFL.

  41. @jjsteelerfan …
    Yes, and not only is Whis in a dreadful division, but this year he’ll be without the Hall of Fame QB who got him into the playoffs. Should be interesting.

  42. I’d love to find out how many of you cardinals fans were part of the 8 total fans 3 years ago. Absolutely pathetic your kind is. You wanna sit there and talk about tomlin like he is terrible and claim e was handed a super bowl team, yet you forget that the last year in the chin’s coaching career we failed to make the playoffs. Or that as a defensive coordinater he helped 2 other teams make it to the playoffs, on of which won the championship. While the whiz took most of the coaching staff from pburgh with him to az, leaving tomlin an opportunity to build a new coaching staff. So blind and retarded you are to forget that your team tries so desperately to be the pburgh of the west, with old Matt leinart next year you will suck again, cry baby anquan will leave, fittzy will seek new employment, missing his college days in pburgh, and you guys will once again blow. You have the audacity to claim tomlin sucks but for the first time in steeler history we had a qb pass for over 4,000….2-1,000+ receivers and a back rush for over a G. So now that kurt is going back to bag groceries, you will fade away only to be remebered as one of those fluke teams who just couldn’t quite make it. So write me your address and I’ll send you a box of kleenexes to help dry your tear filled eyes. It’s 6burgh for a reason and that’s because we know how to organize a classy franchise……hum on ’em.

  43. Tomlin was not “almost fired” in this offseason. The Steelers did not have a losing season, they just failed to make the playoffs. And they had injuries to two key defensive players for most of the season. I love that Tomlin has a 9-7 season and it’s turned into “well he won a Super Bowl with Bill Cowher’s team.” That’s funny considering Bill Cowher has just one Super Bowl winning team. And he had much worse seasons than a 9-7 season. (Remember 2003? The Steelers went 6-10 that year). No coach is going to win the Super Bowl every year. Or “cheat” their way to a Super Bowl win. The Steelers cheated to win SBXL and SBXLIII?! All you whiners can keep whining, in Pittsburgh we have our 6 Lombardis to comfort us!!!

    Lets see who YOU roll with, since your talking smack on the Steelers.
    It says something that a season that “almost got Tomlin fired” was 9-7 and just 2 other team wins away from getting into the playoffs. Hell, there are teams that would consider that a GREAT season, and yet to the Steelers, that was one of the longest and worst seasons on record. How would you feel if YOUR team had our season? Ill be fans from 20 other teams would have loved to have had our misfortune last season.
    Keep talking. We’ll see what happens next year when a much more focused and angry Steelers, with a healthy Troy P, come to YOUR town. You can claim cheating all you want, WE GOT SIX SUPER BOWL TROPHIES. How many does your team have?

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