The Pittsburgh Steelers are one of only two franchises in NFL history to win six Super Bowls. While plenty of Hall of Fame players contributed to the championship runs, great coaches also paved the way.
Sixteen head coaches have taken the helm since Pittsburgh’s franchise came into existence as the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1933. However, several coaches rise above the rest as marble pillars in the team’s illustrious pantheon.
5. Jock Sutherland
Sutherland only spent two years as the team’s head coach (1946-1947), but his 59.1 winning percentage is the third-best in franchise history. He is one of four coaches to lead the Steeler to the playoffs.
In 1946, Sutherland led the Steelers to a 5-5-1 record. The following season, Pittsburgh finished with the second-best record in the entire league at 8-4. Unfortunately, the Steelers lost in the first round of the playoffs. Sutherland tragically passed away before the 1948 season.
4. Buddy Parker
Parker is one of four men to coach the Steelers for more than 100 games. After spending six years coaching Detroit, Parker took control of Pittsburgh in 1957. He spent eight seasons with the team, coaching 104 games.
While Parker spent a long time with the Steelers, he didn’t accomplish much. Under Parker, Pittsburgh only put together three winning seasons and never made the playoffs.
Parker resigned following a disappointing 5-9 season in 1964. He walked away with a 51-47-6 record and never coached in the NFL again.
3. Mike Tomlin
Following Bill Cowher’s retirement, Tomlin stepped into the head coaching role. The former defensive coordinator experienced immediate success, winning the Super Bowl in his second season as head coach.
After defeating the Arizona Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII, Tomlin’s team took a step back in 2009. However, the Steelers returned to the big game the following year, losing to the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XLV.
Since losing to Green Bay, the Steelers have yet to make another Super Bowl run. Pittsburgh missed the playoffs in both of the past two seasons, but 2020’s prospects look promising.
In 13 seasons with the Steelers, Tomlin is 133-74-1 during the regular season. His 64.2 winning percentage is the highest in franchise history.
2. Bill Cowher
The former defensive coordinator took over for the legendary Chuck Noll in 1992 and immediately won Coach of the Year. Cowher took Pittsburgh to the playoffs in each of his first six seasons, and the team went to Super Bowl XXX. Unfortunately, Cowher’s team came up short against the Dallas Cowboys.
Despite only suffering three losing seasons during Cowher’s 15-year career, the Steelers struggled to find playoff success. Pittsburgh finally broke through in 2005, going 11-5 and defeating the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XL. Cowher retired after the following season.
With Pittsburgh, Cowher accumulated a 149-40-1 career record. He owns the second-most wins in franchise history and is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame class of 2020.
1. Chuck Noll
In 1969, Noll took over a pitiful franchise devoid of titles and fame. He only won 12 games during his first three seasons, but patience paid off. Beginning in 1972, the Steelers strung together nine winning seasons that included four Super Bowl titles.
With Hall of Fame players on offense and defense, Noll constructed one of the best dynasties in NFL history. The Steelers posted two back-to-back championship runs and became the first team to win four Super Bowls.
After the glorious 1970s, Noll coached the Steelers through the 80s and into the 90s. However, he never won another Super Bowl, and Pittsburgh missed the playoffs eight times during his final 12 seasons.
After 23 seasons with the team, Noll retired following a 7-9 performance in 1991. He left the game with a 193-148-1 regular season record and a 16-8 postseason record. Noll entered the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1993.