I must say this has been the most interesting, controversy filled Steelers offseason that I can remember in a long time, and we’re not even a month into it yet.
Much of the Steeler Nation has been in a frazzle these last 2 weeks starting with the dismissal of Bruce Arians that went completely south, not something we’re used to seeing from one of the most respected teams in all of sports. We’ve heard everything from Art II isn’t getting along with Mike Tomlin, to Ben Roethlisberger wanting to beat down the door of the team president himself demanding answers, and everything in between. Talk shows are going crazy with fans calling in saying Ben should do this, Rooney should do that, where is Mike Tomlin, you name it and we’ve heard it. Let’s face it, we Steelers fans aren’t used to so much discord. We may not always agree with what the team does in terms of personnel, play calling, or what have you but we took solace in the fact that Steelers ownership always had things well under control.
While things may not be going completely according to the status quo we’re all used too, it’s not as dark as it seems. Let’s take a brief look at why and you’ll notice a common theme…
Bruce Arians leaving the team is fine; it’s not the end of the world. Quite frankly I’m glad the Steelers front office decided it was time for a change. It’s widely assumed by now that Art II overruled Mike Tomlin in the decision to not renew Arian’s contract even in the wake of Head Coach stating Arians was coming back. Maybe Coach Tomlin jumped the gun in his press conference just hours after the Denver loss, it happens. I’m pretty sure he’s not losing any sleep over it. He and Rooney’s have talked at length by now to work out a gameplan for their staff and players. There’s a mutal respect for each other between these two both solidified by a common goal. It’s not like we have Jerry Jones here folks; it’s not quite that bad yet in Pittsburgh is it?
Roethlisberger will meet with Art Rooney II this week and figure out what he’s looking for and they’ll work out whatever philisophical differences they may or may not have. If worse comes to worse, Rooney will say this is what we’re doing and Ben will deal with it. He’s not going to leave the team, demand a trade, or suddenly become unhappy and be a cancer in the locker room. He’s just looking for answers and he’ll get them in time.
When the news broke that Linebackers coach Keith Butler was suddenly going to leave, or seemingly so, for a Coordinator job with the Colts everybody said it was such a disaster and suddenly the sky was falling again. Then, as per usual, the Rooney’s stepped in and saved the day as they talked their assistant/future Defensive Coordinator into staying on the team. That’s the type of influence they have and the confidence they instill in their organizations employees. Had Butler still decided to leave, they had a perfectly capable backup ready to go in Jerry Olsavsky. The team would have moved on just fine. I say that because Dick Lebeau still would have been the head of the defense, Jerry O would have taken over a familiar position and the linebackers would still be dominant. That’s not a knock against Butler, he’s a great coach, so much so that the Rooney’s wanted to keep him but losing assistants should never be the downfall of a franchise.
So the search goes on for a new leader of the Steelers offense. Maybe it will just end up being Randy Fichtner after all, that would certainly make Ben happy. Perhaps it will be one of the latest rumored candidates such as Todd Haley, Colorado’s Rip Scherer, or a name nobody suspects. Whoever they chose Ben will live with it and the Steelers will field a quality team and staff in 2012. The key component in all of this is the Rooney’s. They’ve never steered this franchise wrong in the past and there’s no reason to think they have suddenly lost control of the team or have to stop a coupe in the locker room now.
Take a deep breath Steeler Nation; all will work itself out in due time thanks to the best owners in all of sports.Matt Pappas SteelerAddicts.com Twitter: @SteelerAddicts