Quite often in the world of sports our favorite teams can cause us as much consternation as they can joy or as much doubt as they can confidence. We in the Steeler Nation have had much to be joyous about through the tenures of Chuck Noll, Bill Cowher and through the coaching of Mike Tomlin, but now we find ourselves stuck in a debate that perhaps shouldn’t even be happening right now.
It’s been nearly a week since the Pittsburgh Steelers parted ways with Offensive Coordinator Bruce Arians in a move that was officially called a ‘retirement.’ We now know that Arians did not have his contract renewed and thus, much of us are left wondering if this was a Mike Tomlin decision alone or did it come from a higher authority nudging him in a particular direction?
Art Rooney II made his feelings pretty clear in the season-ending meeting on the Tuesday following the team’s dramatic overtime loss to Denver. Rooney is ready to get back to ‘blue-collar football’ which most of us are going to translate as “we need to run the ball better.” OK, fair enough and perhaps this is a pretty solid indication that Arians’ dismissal did indeed come from the top.
Getting into what ‘blue-collar football’ means is for an entirely different article because I have a completely different and more pressing question right now. Whether this decision, which I like by the way, to move in a different offensive direction, came from Rooney, Tomlin or the ghost of The Chief himself doesn’t matter. My question is, if you knew you wanted to go to someone else then where is this ‘someone else?’
Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t expecting the team to announce a successor the next day, but I know I’m not the only one growing concerned about just where this is all headed. A new offensive coordinator means new terminology, new formations and new plays. If I’m Ben Roethlisberger I want to get on that stuff ASAP regardless of my unhappiness over Arians being released. Professional football is now a 365 day-a-year business and the sooner the Steelers get someone in place the better.
It’s really easy to suggest that it is only a matter of time before former Colts’ Head Coach Jim Caldwell is announced as the new OC. The stars seem to be aligning for this to happen. He is on the ‘Dungy Coaching Tree” with Tomlin and is known for being able to get offenses running the ball better. With each passing day however, I’m starting to wonder if Rooney, General Manager Kevin Colbert and Tomlin actually had a plan in place to begin with when this started.
Perhaps I’m being impatient and my expectations are a little too high to have thought this would be done by now. What I do know is that even though the Steelers don’t play again for several months, they are already putting my stomach through the paces like it was game day. Here’s to getting the right guy and getting him soon. I can’t take much more of the debate.