Carson Palmer sparked some fascinating debate on Monday when he casually threw out Mike Tomlin's name as an under-the-radar candidate for USC's open head coaching job. Tomlin had not been previously linked to the opening, and really hasn't been a rumored target of any sports team (professional or otherwise) throughout his 15-year tenure with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
It was a rather surprising name to rise to the surface, even if there are arguments to be made that suggest the move makes sense. Tomlin, naturally, was asked about the situation during his media availability on Tuesday.
He shot it down. Quickly and with some heat behind his words, We can lay this to rest.
I mean... he's right! I'm unsure about the Steelers job being the greatest in professional sports (considering they appear to have no long-term plan for when Ben Roethlisberger is gone) but in Pittsburgh, Tomlin answers to Art Rooney. That's it. Rooney even has a reputation for keeping head coaches aboard for a long, long time. Tomlin has a lot of room for error that he would not have at any college job in the country, much less one like USC where the boosters are looking for immediate and significant success, and he would have to answer to the athletic director and his cohort regardless of whether or not he achieves that success.
His frustration is understandable, too. Tomlin is the third-longest tenured head coach in the NFL behind only Sean Payton and Bill Belichick. He has undoubtedly had numerous opportunities, both professionally and otherwise, to jump ship over the last decade.
At this point, Mike Tomlin football is Steelers football. If there were any doubt about his loyalty to the franchise, it should be put in the ground now.