Mike Tomlin: Rooney didn’t make me change offensive coordinators


Eyebrows were raised around the NFL this offseason when the Steelers fired offensive coordinator Bruce Arians (a firing they falsely claimed was a retirement) and hired Todd Haley to replace him. Answering questions about that move for the first time on Tuesday morning, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said that was his decision and did not come from above.

“I thought that it was time for change,” Tomlin said, via Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Asked whether Steelers owner Art Rooney II pushed him to fire Arians, Tomlin said, “He did not . . . I hired Todd Haley as well, which is your next question. Art Rooney owns the football team. he can do what he wants to do, but those directives did not happen.”

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has a close relationship with Arians, and there’s been some talk that Roethlisberger and Haley will clash. But Tomlin said he doesn’t see why they can’t work well together.

“I’m not worried,” Tomlin said. “I don’t anticipate any issues. I anticipate both guys getting along great.”

39 responses to “Mike Tomlin: Rooney didn’t make me change offensive coordinators

  1. Hmmmm imagine that….a head coach thought it was time for a change and actually made a change to a team’s OC….wow…I’m speechless….why is this a big deal….SMDH!!!

  2. It seems the problem was with the defense. The Steelers put points on the board, but the defense cound not stop other offenses when it needed to.
    So why didn’t you make a change there and leave the offense alone?

  3. That is crap. Everyone knows Rooney caused this to happen. Why would he remove Arians when he and Roethisberger have a good relationship. Doesnt make sense. Rooney is probably making him say this.

  4. urworstnitemare58 says: Mar 27, 2012 9:59 AM

    It seems the problem was with the defense. The Steelers put points on the board
    UMMMM..what? The Steelers scored about as many PPG as the Dolphins…20.
    Not saying the D, though excellent didn’t have a couple issues (like lack of turnovers) that hurt the O at times, but most offenses that score like that with a 100 million QB and some nice Wrs is going to have their OC come under fire.

  5. amaf21 says:
    Mar 27, 2012 10:06 AM
    Time to send Big Ben packing. Dude is fat, lazy and complacent. You can’t coach a turd.

    nope sorry your team is NOT getting Big Ben!!!

  6. @t2live

    I didn’t realize the reason teams hired an OC was for him to be best buddies with the starting QB?!!? Brilliant insight! I am sure head coaches all over the NFL are smacking their heads right now and saying “Why didn’t I realize that was the point of the job??”

  7. I for am thrilled that somebody I dont care who it was sent Arians packing his playcalling was avg at best and very predictable. why are people making a big deal out of this oh wait I now the writer needs to stir up controversy. as for Ben and Haley not getting along or Ben being this selfish guy why would he redo his contract not once but twice if he was such a selfish guy. like it or not Haley is a very good offense coordinator who IMO doesnt beat around the bush and tells it like it is. this is exactly what Roethlisberger needs not a friend or a yes man but somebody to jump in his ass if need be. this move will force Ben to be the unquestioned leader which is exactly what Arians wasnt doing.

  8. My guess is Arians and Ben were to buddy-buddy and Ben had simply become to arrogant for Arians to control.

    you could tell that from the way Ben has been talking.

  9. Feel so sorry for guys like Arians – who only get paid millions for going from place to place and calling plays.

    We need a full explanation, and probably an investigation, as to why those mean and nasty Steelers hurt his poor feelings, and didn’t pay him millions more, and made him take a job in Indy where he will only make millions coaching the next new NFL qb phenom.

    Such a sad, sad, story.

    Now excuse me, I’ve got to go back to my wonderful job of taking tires off of tractors for $3.75 per hour….. I’ll bet Arians wishes he were me, and that he never met those nasty nasty Rooneys!!

  10. This “story” has always been complete BS, completely fabricated by the Pittsburgh beat writers who are BFF’s with Arians because he leaked them stories.

    Arians sucks. A change was long overdue.

  11. take away mike(barry switzer)tomlins wins against the terrible bungals and the even worse browns and he’s average at best . dungy coaching tree is ajoke . mike switzer couldnt have made it through high school ranks . stuck with him 3 more years we got no chance .

  12. Mike Tomlin: Rooney didn’t make me change offensive coordinators

    Translation : Mike Rooney indeed made me change offensive coordinators.

  13. if you like haley or not at least we didnt get jim caldwell like idiot tomlin wanted . wilson i wish him the best but thats a tomlin guy and he cant even tell mendenhall to tuck the ball .

  14. It was time for a change. The defense wasn’t as dominant as it had been in the past but the offense was definitely an issue. There are an awful lot of weapons on that offense yet they still managed to be mediocre on offense. Who cares if Arians and Ben were buddies, Arians job was to make the offense better not make friends. This move was a few years overdue in my opinion.

  15. Who cares who caused it to happen, really? Arians is gone, that’s the bottom line, and they will move on. People turn over in any business. No reason they can’t embrace change and spice up what should be a high powered offense in any event. They do need to be more productive scoring the TDs in the red zone. Opponents won’t be able to expect the same old thing, which already is in the Steeler’s favor.

  16. Trust me being a Kansas City fan… Todd Haley is going to crush you.

    He will probably work to get Tyler Palko to join the Steelers and bench Big Ben.

    As Todd Haley once said, and I quote…. “I would take 52 Lance Long’s for my team”. Where is Lance Long now?

  17. Say what you will about Mike Tomlin but he has never struck me as a person who would say things to “save face” . seems like a painfully straightforward dude.

  18. Anyone who understands the least bit of football knows Arians was horrible. Beyond horrible. He always called a pass when we needed to run and called the WORST goalline O in the last 20 years. Good luck Indy. They will be crying to get rid of him by October.

  19. Way to follow the script, Mike. Just keep to that line of answering questions, and you will go far in our organization.

    A.R. II

  20. “I for am thrilled that somebody I dont care who it was sent Arians packing his playcalling was avg at best and very predictable. why are people making a big deal out of this oh wait I now the writer needs to stir up controversy….”


    Nice to see Yoda’s still alive.

  21. t2live says:Mar 27, 2012 9:59 AM

    That is crap. Everyone knows Rooney caused this to happen. Why would he remove Arians when he and Roethisberger have a good relationship. Doesnt make sense. Rooney is probably making him say this.


    This is NOT crap.

    I am not a fly on the wall, just very familiar with the way the Steelers do business. It would be foolishness to say that ARII did not have a conversation with Tomlin in which the direction of the organization was discussed and Bruce Arians future was part of those discussions.

    Cynics ignorance aside, there is a reason the Steelers always win, despite seeing talent departures via FA or Retirement, you can bet that there was strong conversation about offensive direction and what the boss wanted, but rest assured, it was not made without Tomlin’s consent — it was Tomlin that saw to it that Arians was retained in the past given the same scenario.

    When Tomlin was hired, he had complete autonomy to hire his own staff, that included Dick LeBeau, he did NOT have to hire the 3-4 coach (especially having all of his own experience being the 4-3 Cover-2).

    Nonetheless, Tomlin is still inexperienced as a coach overall, and probably would not have been as successful anywhere else as immediate as he was in Pittsburgh, where his weaknesses and inexperience was able to be covered by a strong organization.

    Keep in mind, Chuck Noll had 17 years under 3 Hall of Fame Coaches as a player and an assistant before his first Head Coaching stint (he turned down New England and Buffalo to take Pittsburgh’s job). Cowher likewise played & coached under Vermiel and Schottenheimer. Tomlin had only 6 years, 1 with Dungy and 5 with Lane Kiffen. He is still learning as he goes (no different than any other person in life). And unquestionably, ARII helped him see the direction of the offense under Bruce Arians and some of what was necessary to change – especially when the offense is going through major transition with young players.

  22. had to be rooney . i wouldnt let tomlin make decisions on anything . the less tomlin involved the better for team and for us fans . no way dum dum tomlin has more pull than cowher had .

  23. I think Haley has repeatedly shown he’s not emotionally capable of being an NFL coach, but my gut is that he will do just fine as offensive coordinator behind Tomlin.

  24. I am inclined to believe the Rooneys let Tomlin make the decision. why? unlike other owners (Jones, Davis, Snyder) you hardly ever see the Rooneys during football season. They aren’t giving interviews saying who should be the starting QB, aren’t on the sidelines during the game-basically they let the coach be the coach. not saying the Rooneys didn’t give input and their opinions, but with only 3 coaches in the past how many years, they definitely give the impression that the coach runs and manages the team.

  25. Steelers will be fine. They are one of the elite franchises for a reason (if anyone thinks otherwise…count the lombardi trophies) last year this team could have made a real threat at the super bowl but anyone that follows the team knows how injury ridden this team was. With a healthy team next year and with the new additions they bring in thru the draft the steelers will be poised to make another super bowl run.

  26. Yea SURE! And Nixon didn’t “tell” the plumbers to break into the Watergate offices either

  27. The only thing I’ve EVER remotely liked about the Steelers is Tomlin.

    Somebody needs to tell big Benny that the fedora makes his fat head look even fatter.

  28. “Mike Tomlin: Rooney didn’t make me change offensive coordinators”


    Of course he didn’t.

    Just like the fact while OJ rots in jail the real killers are roaming around free and clear.

    Uh-huh, right……….

  29. Gosh, I’ve been off the football blogs for a few days and it’s like I’ve never left. Guess that’s because we’re still talking about whether Tomlin was ordered to fire his OC and hire Haley. Art II has been running the team for years. Have the Rooneys ever operated like that? I’m with Mike … next question?

  30. This off-season couldn’t have gone any better for me, personally. Bruce Arians’ best season as the offensive coordinator was his first. He had five years to make it work, and he still couldn’t. I’m glad they hired Todd Haley to replace him. I bet the design of his offense will make more sense, as will the play-calling. Besides, the players on offense need a coach more than they need a friend.

    As for the roster attrition, let’s take a look at the players the Steelers cut…

    Bryant McFadden: worthless
    Arnaz Battle: special teamer
    Hines Ward: past his prime
    Aaron Smith: past his prime
    James Farrior: past his prime
    Chris Kemoeatu: worthless

    Those six players accounted for the entire $25M that the Steelers were over the salary cap when the off-season began, and yet, only Farrior was still a starter by the end of last season. (Restructuring Ben Roethlisberger, Lawrence Timmons and LaMarr Woodley merely gave the Steelers some room under the salary cap.) The only reason the process was “painful” is because three guys were cut who gave the fans good memories. From a strictly business perspective, it was about as painless as you could get.

    If the Steelers draft a G in either of the first two rounds of the draft, then this off-season will have satisfied the armchair GM in me.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!