Blog Entry

Report: Bruce Arians was set to be fired

Posted on: January 21, 2012 7:29 pm
Bruce Arians would not have been retained (Getty).

By Josh Katzowitz

Before Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians retired, coach Mike Tomlin told reporters in a postseason presser that he wanted both of his coordinators to return in 2012. Arians, in fact, told people he would be back next season. That obviously won’t happen now that Arians isn’t returning.

But the Pittsburgh Post Gazette has some interesting insight into what forced Arians to make that call. According to the paper, the organization was not going to renew Arians’ contract, and in essence, was going to fire him without officially having to fire him.

“That decision,” writes reporter Gerry Dulac, “appears to have come from team president Art Rooney II, even though coach Mike Tomlin told Arians several times since the playoff loss in Denver that he wanted him to return next season.”

Now, it appears Tomlin was overruled by his boss.

The only statement released by the Steelers on the matter was this one paragraph from Tomlin:

“Bruce Arians has informed me that he will retire from coaching. I appreciate his efforts over the past five years as the team’s offensive coordinator and for helping lead our offense to new heights during his time with the Steelers. I am grateful to Bruce for contributing to our success and wish him nothing but the best in his retirement.”

That’s it. No quotes from Arians. No quotes from Rooney.

On the face of it, that statement leans more toward dismissal than a happy retirement. And considering that Arians wasn’t popular with the fanbase, though he put together a more-than-solid offense this season and though Ben Roethlisberger has helped save his job in the past, the Post Gazette opines, “Apparently, the Steelers hierarchy agreed with many of his detractors.”

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Since: Feb 18, 2009
Posted on: January 22, 2012 11:53 pm

Report: Bruce Arians was set to be fired

Mike Tomlin has been to as many Super Bowls and won as many in 4 years as Bill Cowher did in all of his years of coaching
I absolutely agree and I am thrilled as a Steeler's fan that is true.

There is no measure you can use in which Mike Tomlin hasn't been a more successful head coach than Bill Cowher was and I thought Cowher was great.
I once again agree and concur.

Even if he did lose numerous home AFC Championship games.
Well... that is where we may diverge.  I appreciate his success but like his mentor Marty,   he was too successful not to appreciate his coaching abilities but too predictably  on the short end in big games...  Case in point, Schottenheimer was fired by the Kansas City Chiefs after a 14-2 season because they lost in the first round of the playoffs (again).  They haven't been successful since.   I bet they'd take the 14-2 season (even with the loss in the playoffs), after what they've had since he left.

I would never feel comfortable with Cowher as a head coach going into an AFC Championship game.  I'm sorry if that offends you, but the history speaks for itself.

Maybe you should be a little introspective and let us all know the real reason you don't like Mike Tomlin.
Excuse me???  I like Tomlin.  I was not aware I was criticizing him.  I just think Arians needed to go because he was Ben's "yes man" if for no other reason, and I believe they as a group are complacent.  Nothing racist about that.

Since: Feb 9, 2008
Posted on: January 22, 2012 10:43 am

Report: Bruce Arians was set to be fired

I agree with MPetro. With the rule changes and with the receivers he has, Ben should be putting up numbers like nearly everybody else. The Steelers seem to think they can run it like they did in the days of Franco and Bettis. In today's NFL, running the ball is a low percentage type of play and Mendenhall isn't that type of RB. Ben needs to throw the quick passes that people use against the Steelers defense.

Teres Minor is obviously a Seattle fan still smarting after the SB loss so he's going to hate the Steelers forever. I kinda feel sorry for him. He will never know what it's like to root for a team that has a great organization and has nearly always fielded an elite team. 

Since: Nov 26, 2010
Posted on: January 22, 2012 10:32 am

Report: Bruce Arians was set to be fired

First off Ben never was the reason we won a super bowl, it was our D that lead us there and it will be our D that brings us back, i dont like Ben as much as the other guy, but he does what he needs to and wins.. dont know who your home team is, but stop crying and wishing you had 6 rings you big baby. The Steelers pride themselves as being a well run ship, and they are, we didnt need spy gate to win, we just played as everyone says, with our defense (because thats what wins championships). Cry about calls and refs, because in the end when you lose with out pride you look for reasons on why you couldnt win.. so next time our Steelers beat whom ever you like, think of some new reasons to cry about

Since: Jan 22, 2012
Posted on: January 22, 2012 10:08 am

Report: Bruce Arians was set to be fired

You must be a Seachicken fan!

Since: Jun 5, 2011
Posted on: January 22, 2012 9:03 am

Report: Should have fired the QB

The Steelers have been too big for their britches ever since the officials gave them the Super Bowl against Seattle in the worst-officiated game in NFL history.  They are poster children for "entitlement," from the top down.  Big Ben is the worst, and his recent escapes from sexual assault charges, instead of teaching him a lesson, have just taught him that rules are for everyone else, and that he can do whatever he wants, especially to women, with utter impunity.
The Steelers and their fans think that the NFL should just hand them the Super Bowl every year.  Sorry guys: it doesn't work like that.  Changing and/or scapegoating the OC won't heal what's wrong with the Steelers.  
The bottom line: Big Ben's Big Ego won't take the Steelers to the Super Bowl, even if the Second Coming coaches their offense.   

Since: Nov 10, 2010
Posted on: January 22, 2012 8:11 am

Report: Bruce Arians was set to be fired

The Steelheads need to sign Braylon 'hands of stone' Edwards.

They need a receiver who can bring credability to their offense.  

Since: Aug 29, 2006
Posted on: January 22, 2012 8:04 am

Report: Bruce Arians was set to be fired

2004 Ben is a perfect 13-0 as a rookie.

2005 Ben wins his first Lombardi.

2006 Ben recovers from viscious motorcycle wreck. Worst season as a pro.

2007 Ben tosses 32 TD passes in new Arians offense.

2008 Ben wins his second Lombardi despite woeful offense.

2009 Ben eclipses 4300 passing yards. Team roundly criticized for throwing too much.

2010 Ben wins 3rd AFC Championship in 7 years despite missing first four games due to suspension.

2011 Ben eclipses 4000 yards despite late season injury woes.

Here is the stunning truth about Ben Roethlisberger ... in 8 seasons as an NFL QB, Big Ben has only thrown more than 18 TD's just three times ... 2007-32 ... 2009-26 ... 2011-21 ... see the pattern here?

2004 ... 17
2005 ... 17
2006 ... 18
2007 ... 32
2008 ... 17
2009 ... 26
2010 ... 17
2011 ... 21


Ben should easily be tossing 30+ TD's every year at this point in his career ... He has only done so once!

Despite the ups and downs of Ben's career, the Bruce Arians offense has not provided a sound structure for Big Ben to flourish as an NFL-elite-caliber QB ... Ben lacks discipline with his reads ... Ben holds the ball too long to attempt to extend plays ... the Steelers offense persistently stalls inside the Red Zone ... THAT IS COACHING!

It has never been a better time for a change ... Ben needs to bring more discipline to his game before his career is wasted in futility ...

I was one staunch B.A. supporter over these years ... I always gave B.A. the benefit of the doubt ... many of the issues in the Red Zone were matters of execution ... 

But in retrospect, B.A. has had ample time to turn the Steelers offense into a force ... and it never finished higher than 12th in scoring over the past 4 seasons ...

Time for a change! Laughing

The Rooneys are fair ... but they are also firm ... I trust the Rooneys here ...  

Since: Feb 20, 2009
Posted on: January 22, 2012 1:25 am


Arians was fine. Dumb move by Steelers. They were 12-4 and decimated by injuries come playoff time -- where's the beef and why the change?

Since: Aug 12, 2007
Posted on: January 22, 2012 12:20 am

Report: Bruce Arians was set to be fired

Ben is just far too inconsistent, and the entire offense is based on him.  When he plays great, the offense is good, if he plays average, the offense sucks.  It needs to be more diverse, and they need to force him to play in a more structured manner.  He should only use his high risk, high reward style when game situations dictate it.  Most of his poor games are when he is hurt, and he always will be hurt at the end of the year if he runs around getting beat up all season.  I know fans love to blame the offensive line, but there is always a checkdown somewhere, a spot where the receiver can make a great catch but the defender can't get to it, or throw the ball away.  On most replays, the receivers are already coming out of their breaks by the time Ben feels pressure, but he won't throw it unless they are wide open or 50 yards downfield.  Coaches coach and players play, but the players have to run the plays as they are called.  Arians never forced Ben to sharply execute any of his plays, and that was his downfall.  It also was the downfall of the Steelers this season.

Since: Feb 18, 2009
Posted on: January 22, 2012 12:04 am

Report: Bruce Arians was set to be fired

In 2008, the Steelers played the toughest schedule in the NFL and yet managed to have historic defensive statistics and ultimately won the Super Bowl.  So many times in that season, Ben Roethlisberger ran the 2 minute drill with cold blooded efficiency and managed the clock better than anyone I have ever witnessed. In the three years hence, the clock management has become lackadaisical.  There is no sense of urgency before halftime or at the end of the game.  What in the h*** has happened????

  A few short years ago, Ben would have gone for the jugular with the game on the line (like Eli Manning vs Green Bay) and now the Steelers are content to run out the clock at the half or play for overtime. Complacency has set in all around this team.  They seem more concerned about tweets and political agendas on facebook than playing football.  Instead of supporting the "communist in chief"  they need to focuse on winning football not supporting left wing political agendas. Politics and football don't mix any more than politics and religion do.  The main thing is, regardless of politics, someone has to be in charge.

Bruce Arians being Ben's father figure may be touching to the soccer mom's out there, but in the world of professional football uncompromising men like Chuck Knoll, Vince Lombardi, or Bill Parcells for that matter, are much more likely to achieve long term success.  I don't advocate hiring an OC that is as abrasive as Parcells, BUT I think a happy medium could be achieved.

I think Ben needs to be pushed. I think the team needs to be more disciplined not in a military way but (God forgive me) in a Patriots' kinda way.  As much as I hate Belicheat, his teams are structured and disciplined in a positive way.  Everyone is pushed to excellence not coddled into being a punk. I think the Steelers as a rule are a character group, but... I think everyone is too comfortable.  They just aren't hungry anymore.

I think Tomlin needs to regain the "eye of the tiger" and confer that to his men.  Bruce Arians had become too comfy too complacent and too buddy buddy with his quarterback.  Under the right mentor,  Ben becomes a first ballot Hall of Famer with two more rings.  Under Arians, he might have gotten in on an old timers ballot eventually.

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