“You can’t always get what you want… You can’t always get what you want…”
If you read that the wrong way then you obviously don’t listen to The Rolling Stones but regardless, it’s kind of how I felt when Bruce Arians was forced into “retirement.” Don’t get me wrong, I’ve admitted several times I was ready for change but the last thing I wanted was Todd Haley.
While Haley’s offense has put up some prolific numbers it has yet to produce where it matters; the playoffs.
Since Arians was removed in 2011, he has been to the playoffs once as the Offensive Coordinator/Interim Head Coach in Indianapolis and once in Arizona. His one non-playoff year as HC of the Cardinals saw his team finish with a record of 10-6. That season same saw the Seahawks and 49ers go 13-3 and 12-4 respectively which resulted in the missed playoff spot.
Over that same period, the Steelers have been to the playoffs once, in 2014, where they lost at home to the Baltimore Ravens. If you want dive into the debates about the “Steelers’ defense was in transition” and “they didn’t have Bell in the playoff game” then that’s your prerogative. Arians had a rookie QB in Indy and has a fragile Carson Palmer in Arizona.
The argument about Ben Roethlisberger being “healthier” under Haley’s tutelage doesn’t hold much water either. See Big Ben’s current status as proof.
We were told when Arians “retired” from the Steelers that his relationship with Ben Roethlisberger had become too close. It’s true; they got along well and spent time together during the offseason but a the same time, Defensive Coordinator Dick LeBeau was well-known to have great relationships with his players yet somehow that didn’t matter.
Art Rooney II said upon ‘sending Arians out to pasture’ that Roethlisberger needed to “tweak his game.” Now, if he meant get better offensive line play and have more consistency in the running game then I agree. Unfortunately that’s only part of what ARII meant and even those with half a brain know it.
There’s no denying that Roethlisberger has put up huge numbers under Haley but let’s not forget that this is Pittsburgh. Last I checked we don’t measure greatness by statistics, we measure greatness in making the playoffs and winning championships. If I can admit that Haley has done some good things for Roethlisberger in terms of his numbers then I can also admit that maybe Bruce Arians wasn’t quite the problem I thought he was.
One thing is for sure, Bruce Arians will relish beating the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday should his team do so. The way his departure from the organization was handled was abysmal and he deserved better so I don’t blame him.