Steelers fans don’t like it when media members not headquartered in Pittsburgh point out the inherent awkwardness surrounding the clumsy, short-lived “retirement” of offensive coordinator Bruce Arians and the somewhat surprising hiring of new offensive coordinator Todd Haley.
It’ll be interesting to see how they respond to Joe Starkey’s take from Sunday’s Pittsburgh Tribune-Review regarding the apparent power struggle between the front office and the team’s franchise quarterback.
Among other things, Starkey points out that Haley didn’t seek out Ben Roethlisberger once Haley arrived at team headquarters, which seems to be yet another Haley homage to one of his mentors, Bill Parcells.
The selection of Haley, given his recent history of apparently shared dysfunction with Chiefs G.M. Scott Pioli, creates even more pressure. Just as Pioli must get along with new coach Romeo Crennel in order to put the ugliness with Haley in the rear-view mirror, Haley must get along with his new boss, Mike Tomlin, and Haley’s primary employee, the starting quarterback.
It’ll be a delicate task for Haley, especially since rumors continue to swirl in league circles that he got the job not because Tomlin wanted him, but because the Rooney family opted to throw a bone to the son of Dick Haley, who spent 44 years with the team as a player and personnel executive. Todd Haley naturally will be motivated to prove the doubters wrong while also trying to tiptoe around a quarterback who has a stick stuck in a place where sticks shouldn’t go.
It could go very well. Or it could go very poorly. And since Roethlisberger has found a way to win the fans over again two years after his misadventures in Milledgeville, Steelers fans will be quick to criticize Haley if Roethlisberger suddenly isn’t playing like Roethlisberger.