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Oh hey guys!

My coffee maker broke a while back and then my brain couldn’t produce words. Today I went to Starbucks (NASDAQ: SBUX) and now I have some things to say about Bruce Arians.

I don’t think Arians retired as much as he didn’t have his contract renewed. Which, as it turns out, is a really passive way of firing someone. 

Bruce: Hey, Mr. Rooney, I didn’t get a check this week. 

Rooney: Mhmm? Yes, well you don’t have a contract anymore. 

Bruce: I see. Well, if we could just get one worked out here and oh, right, I get it. Okay. 

I never loved Bruce Arians as a coordinator, but I don’t think he was as bad as many Steeler fans perceived him to be. When Ken Wisenhunt left to take over the Arizona Cardinals in 2007 there was some nail-biting by Steeler faithful at the prospect of losing an irreplaceably good coach. Wisenhunt won Super Bowl XL as the Steelers Offensive Coordinator and was widely regarded as one of the best OCs in the game. Then he went to Arizona – a perpetual doormat – and in his second season he coached them to a Super Bowl. In short, Ken Whisenhunt is a really, really good coach. Irreplaceably good.

Steeler fans have always wanted Arians to be as good as Whis, and he wasn’t. He’ll never be. Most coaches won’t be. But the Steelers appeared in two Super Bowls in the four years he was here, and they won one of them. For some reason this was not enough. 

I think most Steeler fans (and observers of football) would agree that the offensive lines Arians had to work with ranged from decent (at best) to embarrassing. Couple that with a quarterback who is not a traditional pocket passer but also not really a scrambler who sheds tacklers like Dan Kreider and insists on extending plays, and you can see how Arians’ job might have been particularly difficult. 

Listening to the sports talk blabber this week it became clear to me that Arians never had a chance to find favor with Steeler faithful. I have heard much made by fans who believe the bubble screen to be an affront to good football complain ad-nauseum that this new Offensive Coordinator better teach Big Ben how to get rid of the ball sooner. That’s the way it was when it came to Steeler fans and Bruce Arians. 


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  1. Tommy H
    January 22, 2012 at 11:46 am

    I think the Rooney’s are making a bigger commitment to protecting their massive investment in a quarterback that is one of the best in the NFL. Rooney discussed how he believes Ben needs to realize that he is 30 now, and our chances at a postseason run were pretty much put in the crapper when he hurt his ankle. The offensive line continues to get better, we have an amazing receiver corps, and I think a new look on our very talented offense could enable us to put up lofty numbers. Or it could go really bad, but let’s be optimistic!

    Also, Ben has never known anyone but Bruce. He was the QB coach under Whis. Hopefully Ben reacts well to this coming change, both as a player and a leader.

    • January 30, 2012 at 4:59 pm

      I have been rebelling against the notion that Ben needs to change his game (ie. get rid of the ball quicker, make the decision every once in a while to throw it away rather than extend the play) because I feel that his unique style of play is what makes him great. But when you mention that he’s almost thirty, it’s pretty clear that he is not going to get any faster or stronger as the seasons wear on, and that his style of quarterbacking isn’t sustainable. BA and Ben were a great team, but Ben needs to evolve and I don’t think Arians is the best guy to foster that evolution.

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