In his own words, Arizona Head Coach Bruce Arians said, “time heals.”
I agree. It does heal but clearly Arians’ ‘forced retirement’ from the Steelers didn’t sit well with him and he was asked about it recently in an interview on HBO’s ‘Real Sports.’
For the record, I was ready for change at the Steelers’ offensive coordinator position. I thought Arians had done an excellent job but the offense had become stale and as he mentioned “they felt I didn’t run the ball enough.” What my hope was was that Quarterbacks’ Coach Randy Fichtner would get the job. The last thing I thought would happen did but that’s a whole other story.
Despite my feelings that it was time for change there were two things about Arians’ dismissal that bothered me.
The first was just the way it was done period. Mike Tomlin had originally told Arians he would return. That obviously wasn’t true but I don’t put that on Tomlin as the decision was taken from him.
The second problem for me was the issue that Arians touched on in this interview in that his relationship with Ben Roethlisberger had gotten “too close.” This argument to me is still a bunch of crap.
Defensive Coordinator Dick LeBeau was famously close with his players. So much so they called him “Coach Dad.” While I think it’s crucial for players and coaches to have an understanding of who does what, at the pro level, I want my QB and OC to be close. I’d rather have it that way than the opposite. Why was it OK for LeBeau but not Arians?
Arians has obviously gone on to some great success while the Steelers’ offense has put up huge numbers in Todd Haley. The difference? In the four years since Arians was fired the Steelers have just one playoff win.
There are other factors of course but at the end of the day the only thing that matters is winning games and Arians has done that in his new capacity.