Before Bruce Arians found his final job in football with the Steelers, he was the offensive coordinator of the division rival Browns.
Arians was on the wrong side of the January, 2003 Browns-Steelers playoff shootout (Tommy Maddox! Kelly Holcomb!) and made it clear Tuesday he’s not a fan of former Browns coach Butch Davis.
“Our head coach lost the game,” Arians said. “He called off the dogs on defense. You just don’t let Tommy Maddox sit there and go against a prevent defense. He basically fired [defensive coordinator] Foge Fazio at halftime. Foge was blitzing. We had them beat. They knew we had them beat.”
Arians says Davis took over the playcalling at halftime and insisted the team play his prevent defense.
“I don’t care what anyone says. I was on that sideline,” Arians said.
At this point, you may be wondering why I’m writing about this nine years later. I’m not really sure, other than I thought it was hilarious and MDS thought it was postworthy. Plus, that was an underrated game on a memorable day for football fans back in ’03. (The Trey Junkin botched snap Giants-49ers game was later that day.)
The end to the story for Arians, of course, was a happy one. He says he still hears about a key drop Dennis Northcutt had late in the game.
“Hines [Ward] brings it up all the time. ‘If [Dennis] Northcutt catches that ball, you might be a head coach right now.’” Arians recalled. “But I wouldn’t have all these Super Bowl rings.”