ICYMI: Analyzing Mike Tomlin and John Harbaugh’s Early NFL Success


November 18, 2012; Pittsburgh , PA, USA; Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh shakes hands with Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin before the game at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

The AFC North is now home to two Super Bowl-winning head coaches after the Baltimore Ravens laid claim to the Lombardi Trophy this past season.

Needless to say, the AFC North is one of the NFL’s best division from top to bottom.

Even though the Ravens’ John Harbaugh is the head coach of the reigning Super Bowl champions, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Mike Tomlin has actually had more success in his early NFL career.

This table details both coaches’ success with their teams since their first year as a HC:



Record + Playoffs



Win percentage



Playoff Berths



Division titles



Super Bowl titles



Feb 3, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh celebrates with the Vince Lombardi Trophy after defeating the San Francisco 49ers 34-31 in Super Bowl XLVII at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

It is worth pointing out Tomlin inherited a good team from Bill Cowher, and won a title with most of the same players from that 2006 championship team. Harbaugh inherited a mediocre team from Brian Billick that had just gone 5-11 and was seven years removed from a Super Bowl. He turned it around to the point they’ve been in the postseason every year he’s been their HC, and are now the defending Super Bowl champions.

Head to head, Tomlin leads with a 7-5 record. Three of Harbaugh’s wins came with the benefit of not having to face Ben Roethlisberger. One of Tomlin’s wins came without Roethlisberger as well. Just three years ago, it was the Pittsburgh Steelers who were in the Super Bowl, the second appearance under Tomlin. But his team ultimately fell to the Green Bay Packers. Had they won, it would have been their third title in 5 seasons, and second Lombardi Trophy for Tomlin in just his fourth NFL season.

We could argue all-day who’s a better coach, but one thing’s for certain: Takeaway Bill Belichick from the New England Patriots and Tom Coughlin from the New York Giants, and you’ve got the two most successful NFL head coaches over the past 5 seasons.

Want more Bengals news? Like Stripe Hype on Facebook, or grab our RSS feed.

Follow @StripeHype

Follow @UK_Fans