While Mike Tomlin never coached the New England Patriots, the Pittsburgh Steelers head coach has some similarities with Jerod Mayo.
For starters, they’re both the first Black head coaches in the history of their respective franchises.
Mayo had already earned plenty of respect and recognition around the league during his playing days as a linebacker, and he quickly ascended in the assistant coach rankings as soon as he started working under Bill Belichick.
That’s why it wasn’t much of a surprise to hear that Tomlin was one of the first people to reach out to Mayo to congratulate him on his new job as head coach of the Patriots (via Dakota Randall).
Jerod Mayo said Mike Tomlin reached out to congratulate him on becoming head coach of the Patriots
— Dakota Randall (@DakRandall) January 17, 2024
Tomlin is quite familiar with this kind of situation.
He took the reins of the team from Hall of Famer Bill Cowher just a couple of years after they had won the Super Bowl, and just like Mayo, he also had to face plenty of pressure and doubts when he first took over.
Mayo is now the fourth Black head coach in the league, joining the likes of DeMeco Ryans (Houston Texans), Todd Bowles (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), and the aforementioned Tomlin.
Belichick’s departure left Tomlin as the longest-tenured coach in the league, and he’s fully expected to return for his 18th season to put his 17-year non-losing season streak on the line.
There could be some epic battles with the new Patriots coach down the road, but for now, there’s nothing but love and respect.