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Art Rooney II on Bruce Arians: “It was time for a change”

Art Rooney II AP

Although the official company line on the departure of Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians is that he retired, it’s been widely reported that he was actually forced out by Steelers owner Art Rooney II. In an interview on the team’s web site, Rooney declined to get into specifics, but didn’t deny that he’s the reason Arians is out.

And Rooney confirmed that he believes it was time for the Steelers to make a change offensively, and that he’s glad to see head coach Mike Tomlin working on hiring a new coordinator.

“Bruce did a good job for us and we appreciate everything he’s done,” Rooney said. “I think the questions of how we got here are not really relevant. I think the key now is Mike has begun the search for our next offensive coordinator and I think he’ll do a good job finding the right person. We’ll go through the process and interview the right candidates. But we’re looking to improve on offense and have somebody possibly to be in place for a number of years. Bruce had talked about retirement for a few years now, so I think it was time for a change, and we’re looking forward to moving on.”

Those comments do nothing to dispel the talk that Arian’s departure was Rooney’s call. Rooney may think the questions about how this came about are irrelevant, but if Arians is right that Ben Roethlisberger is unhappy, Rooney may find himself getting questioned by his quarterback.

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39 Responses to “Art Rooney II on Bruce Arians: “It was time for a change””
  1. 66rick says: Jan 26, 2012 12:02 PM

    this is nothing…just people trying to stir it up. Ben doesn’t care who the OC is, he’s going to win games no matter what. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, BIG Ben is a winner.

  2. peytonwantsaflag says: Jan 26, 2012 12:05 PM

    this is so cool – PigBen tries to push Rooney around like he’s some teenage girl in bar bathroom and Art quickly puts him in his place.

    good job Art. I have a whole new respect for you.

  3. jimbobobjr says: Jan 26, 2012 12:06 PM

    This is the right move. A change was needed from passing 48 times and running 16 times in games in 15 degrees with 40 mph winds against the 31st rushing defense in the league.
    And if Ben is unhappy—TOO BAD! Grow up, suck it up, and play!!!

  4. daysend564 says: Jan 26, 2012 12:06 PM

    Uh oh, Ben is mad. Now no women are safe!

  5. tdk24 says: Jan 26, 2012 12:06 PM

    Probably a smart move by the Steelers. That window is closing on their defense and they need a more productive offense to offset that.

  6. Henry says: Jan 26, 2012 12:10 PM

    While a new OC may help Ben Roethlisberger, what he really needs to do is get in better shape physically. He was obviously way over his best playing weight and that falls squarely on the coaching. They let him slack off and the results were seen on the field.

  7. thatobnoxiousguy says: Jan 26, 2012 12:13 PM

    Why is Arians at fault?
    The O-line sucked.
    Defense is old.
    The team was overrated in the first place

  8. hendawg21 says: Jan 26, 2012 12:17 PM

    So let me see if I got this right you make it to the playoff’s with a hobbled and beat up QB the offense is putting up points the D just can’t stop people and even give up the game winning TD in overtime to get you knocked out of the playoffs…but it’s the OC who has to go??? What gives!!!!

  9. skittlesareyum says: Jan 26, 2012 12:18 PM

    Rooney may think the questions about how this came about are irrelevant, but if Arians is right that Ben Roethlisberger is unhappy, Rooney may find himself getting questioned by his quarterback.

    Given Art is co-owner of the Steelers, plus Ben’s legal issues in the past, Ben would be smart to keep his comments private.

  10. waccoforflacco says: Jan 26, 2012 12:18 PM

    The OLD and RUSTY Steelers are in total disaray YAYYYYYYYYY-a total rebuilding year

    RAVEN NATION RULES

  11. jobotjones says: Jan 26, 2012 12:23 PM

    It is the owners job to make these decisions. Not the QB and not even the HC.

    Art tried to give bruce the benefit of walking away silent as a retired party but apparently is not happy with that by flapping his mouth about the situation. Go ahead then, tell the whole world you got fired. You deserved it for this years performance.

    End of story.

  12. jobotjones says: Jan 26, 2012 12:25 PM

    The OLD and RUSTY Steelers are in total disaray YAYYYYYYYYY-a total rebuilding year

    RAVEN NATION RULES
    ______________

    Last time they had a rebuilding year (2010-11) they went to the super bowl…keep talking when you haven’t been to a super bowl in over 10 years…typical ratbird nonsense…

  13. pdmjr says: Jan 26, 2012 12:29 PM

    Henry says:
    Jan 26, 2012 12:10 PM
    While a new OC may help Ben Roethlisberger, what he really needs to do is get in better shape physically. He was obviously way over his best playing weight and that falls squarely on the coaching. They let him slack off and the results were seen on the field
    =================================

    You don’t know what your talking about, I am at the facility 2 days a week when they practice.

    Ben was in tip top shape the last two seasons

    Perhaps you’re referring to his face which is due to the plastic surgery he had in 06 after his accident.

  14. crownofthehelmet says: Jan 26, 2012 12:35 PM

    waccoforflacco says:Jan 26, 2012 12:18 PM

    The OLD and RUSTY Steelers are in total disaray YAYYYYYYYYY-a total rebuilding year

    RAVEN NATION RULES
    _________________________________

    Disaray? I think that the Steelers getting rid of an underacheiving OC is pretty smart. Sure, the stats might say he did a good job, but the eye-test doesn’t lie. He wasn’t utilizing the team’s strengths.

    Now if they announced they were keeping their awful OC, because the head coach has a good relationship with him, when everyone knows he should be gone – and a quarterback who’s not improving under that OC, now that would be what I call “disaray”. Sound like any team you know Wacco?

  15. steelersmichele says: Jan 26, 2012 12:35 PM

    Arians should learn from Bill Polian. Polian was fired and he’s had nothing but positive things to say about Irsay and the Colts. The steelers let Arians save face by letting him “retire” and now he’s bad-mouthing his former boss and organization.

  16. mac3333 says: Jan 26, 2012 12:39 PM

    Yeah, blame Arians.

    As a Bengals fan I am stoked to see this change. The reason they cant run the ball is the lack of attention spent on the Oline. Not because of Arians.

  17. clayton43 says: Jan 26, 2012 12:42 PM

    umm Yes we are rebuilding.. sort of… but we will still be 11- 5 12 4 and in the hunt for the Superbowl each year while ” rebuilding”.. so being a Steelers fan I am not too worried about it, but isnt each team rebuilding every year anyway to a certain extent?
    Rooney is correct in saying ” is time for a change”..I hate the fact we dont use a true fullback and I hate that we stopped being run dominant. ANY QB wants to throw the ball 50 times a game.. I dont blame Ben for that and the league as a whole is going to that.. doesnt mean we have to at all…The problems most teams have is losing thier identity and I think Rooney wants to make sure it doesnt get completely lost and we end up being a team that we arent. Obviously Ben has the talent to chuck the ball that many times and maybe he would havee thrown it for 5000 yards in doing so..but isnt what the organization wants. Plenty of room for a happy medium!!

  18. sudz28 says: Jan 26, 2012 12:46 PM

    Sounds good to me! Although we lost our wildcard playoff game, our Defense finished the season ranked higher than the Ratbirds so that part of our game is obviously sound. It’s the offense that’s been holding us back, so I expect things to get better now.

  19. billionsvsmillions says: Jan 26, 2012 12:46 PM

    Yeah, Ravens ( your not popular enough to be qualified for the nation symbol as of yet )…will be watching on the couch with that Young and Crisp D in purple. Better luck next year… Ravens forgot they have to defeat other teams in the NFL to win the Super Bowl, not just the Steelers.

  20. chiefpatriot says: Jan 26, 2012 12:46 PM

    Bottom line:
    (1) Art Rooney II is the co-owner. So, whatever he says is pretty much a done-deal.

    (2) Their skirt-chasing QB needs to grow-up, get his weight in order and start to re-invent himself.

    (3) Their D is old and if then don’t get the pieces in quickly, the Raven will eat their lunch and dinner for the next few seasons.

  21. flightb0ys says: Jan 26, 2012 12:47 PM

    It was time for change?? I heard they were going to hire within the org. How is that change??

  22. citizenstrange says: Jan 26, 2012 12:47 PM

    Including the Colts game where the Steeler offense scored 16 points without Polamalu’s fumble recovery TD the Steelers scored LESS THAN 20 POINTS EIGHT TIMES.

    They got 20 points in the second game against the Ravens.

    Roethlisberger did not play in the 27-0 win over the Rams so that means …..

    In the 15 games Roethlisberger played the Steelers scored:

    20 or less points — NINE TIMES.
    21-25 points — three times
    over 25 points — three times

    Figure in a 35-7 blowout by the Ravens, a 17-10 loss to the Texans and a 20-3 blowout by the 49ers and the highlight of the entire season was scoring 23 points against the Patriots very worst defense in the entire league.

    So if you insist on keeping Roethlisberger at quarterback then yes, you have to try a new approach at offensive coordinator.

  23. mostlombardisintheleague says: Jan 26, 2012 1:08 PM

    To the Purple Browns (aka the Ravens). Did you watch the playoff game against Houston ? Your mighty D did not get a single sack against a rookie QB and Adrian Foster ran up and down your back for 130 yards. Houston’s D line man-handled your O-line and kept Rice to under 70. The only reason the game did not go to OT and that you won is because of the Houston muffed fumble inside their 10. The fact that you swept us this year was a matter of the odds table. Keep track for the next 10 seasons and see how many seasons you sweep again ( and look back to see how many times we beat you).

    And to @citizenstrange, each team PITT lost to went to the playoffs (can the Ravens say the same?) and we scored 25 (not 23) points against New England and kept Brady to 198 total yards.

  24. steeltroll says: Jan 26, 2012 1:09 PM

    “waccoforflacco says:
    Jan 26, 2012 12:18 PM
    The OLD and RUSTY Steelers are in total disaray YAYYYYYYYYY-a total rebuilding year

    RAVEN NATION RULES”

    How could you possibly post this today? You just lost your overachieving DC Paggy to the Colts and you’re keeping your underachieving OC Cam Cam, while the Steelers have dumped their underachieving OC and kept a fine (mostly) DC. You must be a Steelers fan in disguise trying to make Ravens fans look dumb.

  25. celebrator1 says: Jan 26, 2012 1:30 PM

    From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, September 09′:
    Mike Tomlin spent time between the Super Bowl and training camp studying offenses in the NFL and found one he would like the Steelers to emulate: the New England Patriots.

    “I think the great teams are capable of winning in many forms or fashion and playing to their strengths on a week-to-week basis based on a matchup,” Tomlin said yesterday. “I thought a great deal about that, frankly, this offseason.

    “You study a team like New England, and they walk into a stadium offensively, and week to week they can be whatever they choose to be. They can beat you in three wides, four wides, three tight ends, and it makes them very difficult to prepare for and ultimately beat.”

    Who wouldn’t want to have an offense like that? The last time the Patriots went through a season with Tom Brady at quarterback (2007), they scored 589 points, an average of 36.8 per game when they went 18-0 right up until the New York Giants upset them in Super Bowl XLII.

    Brady threw 50 touchdown passes and for 4,806 yards, and the Patriots scored 17 more touchdowns rushing with 1,849 yards on the ground that season.

    The Steelers’ offense has a long way to go to reach those proportions, but it does not mean Tomlin and coordinator Bruce Arians cannot aspire to it.

    “We’ve got a desire to win a bunch of games,” Tomlin said. “We’ve got a bunch of guys capable of making plays. We’ve got three and four wideouts that we’re comfortable with, two and three tight ends that we’re comfortable with, two or three backs that we’re comfortable with. We want to create that same persona.”

    The Steelers have not accomplished that goal on offense after two games. They rank in the middle of the pack in the NFL (16th) in total yards and 29th in total points (27).

    They also have not struck the kind of balance Tomlin would like to see them achieve. They average 262 yards passing per game and just 70.5 rushing. They have attempted 84 passes (six resulting in sacks) and 45 runs, three of them scrambles by quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

    4 1

  26. dprouse says: Jan 26, 2012 1:37 PM

    Can anyone imagine Tom Coughlin or The Hoodie being told by the owner who to hire or fire on the coaching staff? Me neither. I’m shocked that after the success he has had, Mike Tomlin still doesn’t have enough swing in the Steeler organization to call his own shots for his coaching staff without meddling from ownership. Tomlin should insist on full automony on his next contract. If he doesn’t get it, he should walk out the door – I’ll guarantee you that he would have another NFL Head Coach position in 24 hours.

  27. vincentbojackson says: Jan 26, 2012 1:54 PM

    If I’m not mistaken, Art Rooney II doesn’t have to explain his decisions to anyone. He’s running the most decorated pro-football franchise of all-time. The trophy case full of Lombardi’s speaks for itself.

  28. cliverush says: Jan 26, 2012 2:47 PM

    I too believe that Steelers organization should not be questioned by players in their decision making process. If the front office asks you for your input, great. If not, silence is golden.

  29. melikefootball says: Jan 26, 2012 2:50 PM

    Rooney made the correct move and Ben should remember Art stood behind him in his darkest days. The Steelers had a lot of injuries on the offense but have some weapons that need to be used, Arians just did not seem to seem to see this.

  30. henrykissingerisgod says: Jan 26, 2012 2:50 PM

    thatobnoxiousguy

    In what sense was this team overrated?

    The old and rusty steelers have the youngest offense in the AFC

    and the defense has young talent you will see this year

  31. bray72 says: Jan 26, 2012 3:12 PM

    @dprouse says:
    Jan 26, 2012 1:37 PM
    Can anyone imagine Tom Coughlin or The Hoodie being told by the owner who to hire or fire on the coaching staff? Me neither. I’m shocked that after the success he has had, Mike Tomlin still doesn’t have enough swing in the Steeler organization to call his own shots for his coaching staff without meddling from ownership. Tomlin should insist on full automony on his next contract. If he doesn’t get it, he should walk out the door – I’ll guarantee you that he would have another NFL Head Coach position in 24 hours.
    ________________________

    Either you just became a football fan or you are pretty light on the IQ.
    1) Rooneys are probably the least meddling owners in the league.
    2) They have established one of the most successful franchises year after year.
    3)They DO own the team
    4)Their offense has been too predictable and underachieving. The HC needs managed also like any other employee
    5)If Tomlin did walk (WHICH HE WON’T), the Steelers would have HC candidates lined up to partipate in such a storied franchise

    Better rethink your silly post!!!

  32. gnutella0 says: Jan 26, 2012 3:24 PM

    I’ve been one of Ben Roethlisberger’s most ardent supporters and defenders, but I support the Rooney family over everybody. They know what they’re doing, and the six Lombardi Trophies are testament to that. They also know when to let personnel go, or, in the case of Tom Donahoe, Santonio Holmes and Bruce Arians, get rid of them. They’re arguably the most football-wise ownership in the NFL.

    I’m fully with Art Rooney II when he says that it was time for a change. Bruce Arians had five years to implement his offense, and the offense has just as much talent as the defense, so for the offense to still feel incomplete is inexcusable. It’s time to find an offensive coordinator that gets the most out of his players, and if Roethlisberger doesn’t like it, then he can blow it out his ass.

    With all that said, it’s worth noting that Roethlisberger hasn’t spoken to the media since this all went down, so there’s a chance that Arians might be embellishing, especially given how unprofessional he’s been since his dismissal from the team.

  33. chmba says: Jan 26, 2012 3:30 PM

    Welcome Steeler fans to the Jerry Jones School of Owner/General Manager antics. Junior Rooney is here to play with his toy.

  34. gnutella0 says: Jan 26, 2012 4:20 PM

    In order for Art Rooney II to make an executive order like that, there must be something that only people who work for the team know. I don’t think this is the beginning of Mr. Rooney turning into a meddler; for all we know it’s a one-shot deal.

  35. Deb says: Jan 26, 2012 5:14 PM

    Rooney may find himself getting questioned by his quarterback? Are you kidding? :roll:

    Ben works the the Rooneys, not the other way ’round. And he knows that. Art II is his father’s son. He was raised to take over the team from his dad and has, in essence, been running day-to-day operations for many years now. He’s not some new-to-the-scene prima donna. The Rooneys have never overstepped the coach unless it was necessary. Tomlin may not have initiated the discussion on firing Arians, but I’m sure it was a joint decision–and it was the right decision. Yes, we have issues on offensive line, but with the overall talent we have–especially at QB–there’s no reason we should be ranked in the lower 50 percent on offense.

    Ben has extraordinary natural talent, but Arians is one-dimensional. Ben needs a coordinator who can push him to the next level. If they pick the right man, this will be the best thing that could have happened for Roethlisberger. Yeah, he may be nervous about stepping out of his comfort zone, but he wants another championship–and a shot at the Hall. He’ll happily go along with what works.

  36. steelernation1 says: Jan 26, 2012 6:09 PM

    @tdk24

    the window is closing on there defense?lol where is that coming from..everyone talks about how old they are.but remember who was number one d in the league.they have oldies in there..but remember fella they have some awesome backups ready to step up and take over.thats the way the steelers play..they are never short on LB’s.they always have one of the top d lines in the league.so i look for the same next year but with young guns in there.

  37. irishnativeson says: Jan 26, 2012 6:12 PM

    From an on the field football stand point I’ve got no problem with the move. From a business credibility stand point, II may have screwed up. How do you think a guy that appears to want to continue working is going to react when you fire him and say he retired? At some point the guy is either gonna squawk or get a job.

  38. steelernation1 says: Jan 26, 2012 6:13 PM

    oh by the way BA was not the greatest OC in football..far from it..i didnt like him and i am sure plenty more would say the same.we need Dan Rooney back in a bad way..the team declined a lot last couple years on offense.they should always stick to the run game..if they get that run game back to where it was 3 yrs ago.the sky is the limit for those receivers..why?

    because teams wont be able to just sit the defensive backs in protection they would have to put safeties closer to the line..and that will free up the young speedy receivers..that will give ben a great season as long as the o line is good lol

  39. johnteedee says: Jan 26, 2012 11:05 PM

    If it is true about Ben wining, he needs to shut up and do what his $100+ million dollar contract expects him to do. I am a long time Steelers fan and I am very happy with the course of action Mr. Rooney has taken..Time to fix the O-Line and play ball.

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