Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin will soon coach his first Pro Bowl and little does he know (or care) he’s got a tradition to up hold. While the Pittsburgh Steelers are known for their Super Bowls, having won 6 Super Bowls with 3 coaches, Steelers coaches have also led the AFC Pro Bowl squads to six wins.
- Wow, you didn’t know that, did you?
No, you probably didn’t. Ah, but story gets better yet as the plot thickens. Pittsburgh Steelers coaches have won more Pro Bowls than Super Bowls and boast a 7-1 record in the Pro Bowl for a .875 winning percentage, or 10 points better than Steelers cumulative .750 Super Bowl winning percentage.
- Chuck Noll and Bill Cowher coached 3 Pro Bowls a piece, and the AFC never suffered a loss under their guidance.
The lone Pro Bowl coaching black sheep for the Steelers is Buddy Parker, who coached the NFL Eastern division to a 26-7 loss in 1957 (actually, the 1957 Pro Bowl was played on January 12, 1958 in the Los Angeles Coliseum – keep that in mind if you ever reach Final Jeopardy and the category is “Pro Bowls” but by all means remember to phrase your response in the form of a question!)
All of Chuck Noll and Bill Cowher’s Pro Bowl appearances came by virtue of their AFC title losses, because for much of the game’s history, the coaching staff of the losing team in the conference championship went to Hawaii.
- Now of course the honor falls to the losing coaching staff from the divisional round that has the highest regular season record.
There’s not a whole lot to discuss in terms of past Pro Bowls, because, well no one really cares about them when they’re being played, much less after their over. I mean, Pro Football Reference lists the games results, the Pro Bowl Rosters, but doesn’t keep a record of the Box Scores. Wikipedia does have a page on each Pro Bowl game with a few notes, but again no box scores.
- That puts the triviality of the Pro Bowl in perspective. You can find Louis Lipps passing stats on Pro Football Reference, but you can see how many Pro Bowl passes he caught.
So while we know O.J. Simpson was the MVP of the 1972 Pro Bowl, we have no (easy) way of knowing whether Chuck Noll favored Simpson over Franco Harris in terms of workload, or whether The Juice simply out performed Harris. Mel Blount however, won the 1976 Pro Bowl MVP award, for those taking notes.
- However, we do know that Chuck Noll out witted Tom Landry, Chuck Knox and Mike Ditka in his 3 Pro Bowl appearances.
- For his part, Bill Cowher vanquished Barry Switzer, Steve Mariucci, Andy Reid and Jim L. Mora in his Pro Bowl coaching appearances.
So, it looks Mike Tomlin arrives at his Pro Bowl coaching gig with a standard to uphold. At least he has Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, Le’Veon Bell, David DeCastro, Maurkice Pouncey, Alejandro Villanueva and Cam Heyward to help him….