Report: Roethlisberger saved Arians

On Tuesday, Ken Laird of ESPN Radio in Pittsburgh reported that the Steelers would be firing offensive coordinator Bruce Arians “in the near future.”  As it turns out, Arians will be retained.

So what happened?

 “My sources were from within the organization and very solid,” Laird told us via e-mail last night, “and they were convinced that Arians was going to be let go later in the week.  There is clearly a differnce of opinion in the organization about the Arians offense, and it appears there was a change of heart in the 24 hours after the report.”

As Jim Wexell of explains it, there was a change of heart.

And it was prompted by quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

Per Wexell’s Twitter page, Big Ben threw a “Hail Mary” pass to save Arians’ job.  But Wexell suggests that Arians wasn’t in danger of being fired until Arians leaked that he was going to be fired.  Wexell says that Arians was under the impression he was being let go, that he sought confirmation from coach Mike Tomlin, that Tomlin brushed him off, and that Arians then assumed he was out.

The move makes sense, given that Wexell also points out that Arians is Roethlisberger’s best friend in the organization, and that they golf together.  But we agree with Wexell on the import of the move — if Roethlisberger is able to save the job of a guy who predated Tomlin’s arrival at a time when two assistant coaches hired by Tomlin are being fired, the player has too much power.

55 responses to “Report: Roethlisberger saved Arians

  1. If you can’t get your offense to put up 20 points on Cleveland, you should be fired. Arians had success before and after Tomlin’s arrival, but this year was bad.

  2. Yet everyone gives Brett Favre all sorts of crap for not wanting to be benched at halftime of a tie ball game, or for calling audibles that become TD’s. There’s always a double standard against Brett …

  3. Or, what happened during the Steelers melt down was not Araian’s fault. Give the guy the benefit of the doubt. He was OC on the Superbowl team, wasn’t he. Didn’t get stupid in a year.

  4. If you’re Tomlin, you have to fire Arians on general principle. Big Ben’s a big boy, he’ll get over it.

  5. I guess since Cocklessberger has two rings, he now wants to pad his stats to be one of the better statistical qb’s. It makes sense now. He keeps a guy around that wants to call more pass plays, and be his buddy. Forget the idea of doing what’s best for a team and winning. Now I know why his teammates stab him the back when they get the chance. See Hines Ward before the first Ravens game this year.

  6. The guy that everyone wants to be fired is best friends with the guy no one likes?
    It DOES make sense.

  7. OR it could be a bunch of misinterpreted signals or simple miscommunication that lead to the leak – at which point Arians may have been on the chopping block simply for the leak.
    Perhaps Ben was the voice of reason, not necessarily a whiny, overpaid SuperBowl winning diva…? Maybe he was able to – based upon their relationship – tell the organization ‘hey, he felt like he was getting hung out to dry, and I know that all he wanted was an honest appraisal of his status with the organization before this hoorah over a leak.’

  8. Yeah he wants to pad his stats like Peyton Crybaby Career Playoff Choker Manning has tried to do since he’s been playing.

  9. Maybe he should have “too much” power. Hes the one who takes that team to the next level and allows them to win at this point.

  10. This year the Steelers had a 4000 yard passer, two 1000 yard receivers, and a 1000 yard rusher. I find Arians extremely predictable as a play caller, but the problem this year was the defense, not the offense. He deserved to keep his job, and he works well with Ben. Ben is the franchise, even more so than Tomlin.

  11. Full disclosure: I was born and raised in Pittsburgh and am die hard Steeler fan.
    If Roethlisberger really does have that much power it is truly disappointing. The Steeler organization prides itself on respect for the hierarchy and team play. If any single player can influence an organization that much, the hierarchy system has failed. Pittsburgh is hard nose, smash mouth, run the ball football. Couple that with a solid defense and you have a recipe has proven to win rings. Letting one player get big enough to change that is a mistake.
    If Tomlin can’t make personnel decisions his power as a head coach diminishes and so does the hierarchy that has made the Steelers organization one of the best in professional sports.

  12. As a Vikings fan who gives a rats ass about the Steelers,I see keeping Arians as a big mistake. Who the hell is Ben to have a say in the job? bornman3 said it right,Ben likes the air it out play calling and being golf goobers with Arians. Seems to me Steelers football was built around a strong ground game complimented by passing. You Steeler fans should know more than me though.

  13. Whether it was right to KEEP BA or not, Ben will be out of the league in a couple of year due to concussions if they KEEP the same OL…I’m just sayin’

  14. Every qb who is worth a established and worth dam has influence on who the OC is going to be….hell peyton controls everything at the colts complex

  15. Offensive scheme wasn’t their main issue this season. Firing the coordinator probably would not help them win games next year. Being one year removed from the super bowl and you are cleaning house after a bad season? Fickle is the mob.

  16. Why would they fire Arians? The offense was in the top half of almost all offensive statistical categories. Big Ben had his second most productive season of his career and they were coming off a SuperBowl victory. Add to that the return of the Bengals to relevance, making their division more difficult to go along with probably one of the three toughest schedules in football due to winning the SB. I am not a Steelers fan by any means, but give the guy a break. And I’m definitely not saying LeBeau deserves to be fired either. They got hit with injuries, lost three bad games to Cleveland, Kansas City and Oakland and got were the odd team out in a conference that is stacked 1-6. Put them out west and they are the #4 seed hosting a playoff game this weekend.

  17. “and it appears there was a change of heart in the 24 hours after the report.”

    or maybe the report was WRONG!! I would pick that over rothlesburger throwing a hail mary pass to save the obviously good OC.

  18. Pervy, didn’t the Vikings have one of the top ground games in the league last year? You want to tell me that last year’s Vikings could do better than this year’s Vikings with Air it out Favre? The league is all about passing. If the Steeler’s D was half as good as their D last year, they’d be 12-4. The problem is not the offense. It’s crazy that there should even be a discussion about weather or not to keep Arians. The NFL has changed, either keep up, or get left behind.

  19. Or… a smart coach keeps the guy who can manage the quarterback – arguably the bread and butter of the team dynamic. TomBrookshire and Lamename said it best… Ariens was there during the SB winning seasons, he didn’t get dumb overnight. Give it a break.
    And whoever you are… seriously… you can’t criticize a team, or a particular player, without resorting to childish name calling, like Cocklisberger and Rapelishberger – or however the hell you spell it? What is this, middle school? Grow up. If you don’t like the dude, fine, but acting like a ‘junior high dickless dude’ yourself – isn’t doing YOU any favors.

  20. Big Ben is the best QB in the game.
    No one can do what he does, and the Steelers would suck without him.
    It’s been a long time since the burgh had a QB that was a headcase, bad, inconsistent and a PITA.
    Ben is the franchise. Tomlin is a second year coach, who seemed to not be able to get his team (especially the all-pro kicker) ready for the season.
    Coaches like Mike Tomlin are replaceable, a guy like Ben is not.

  21. See …. it’s much better and easier to break news stories that have no possibiity of being able to be proven right or wrong.
    Claiming that Arians will be fired makes you like like a clueless, gossiping, buffoon when he isn’t.
    Claiming that you know all of the workings and goings on behind the scenes and who said what and thought what and did what but really saying nothing that you can be held accountable for is the new journalism.

  22. I’m pretty sure the scramble drill that ensues when Ben escapes the pocket is not in Arians’ playbook. So, Ben has saved Arians’ job a million times already, this is just the first vocal example.

  23. I wonder why there has been nothing said about LaBeau being fired. The defense sucked alot more than the offense this year. The secondary sucked and never improved. Maybe the one who really needs to go is Tomlin. I’m still not sure about that guy. I am a Steelers fan and will always be but there is way too much conflict in that organization right now! Just saying

  24. And we all believe this is true because it is on PFT, i think not, I think Ben could be a big influence, but I do not think that he has that much power in the organization.
    Another pathetic attempt to blame Ben when it is obvious that Arians is not the problem. Our offense is better than it has been in years. If you want to point fingers on offense then look at the O-line and how Ben on a continual basis would have to run for his life, Oh but thats right they did address that problem.
    What I have read Ben could care less about stats all he cares about is winning and SB’s nothing else. But the average Steeler hater who relies on information on here , can believe what tehy want and keep hating. and blaming Ben, I dont care and I am sure Ben could give a rats ass.
    @the Coop , if no one in the locker room liked Ben then why was he unanimousily voted the Team MVP..I think he got 49 of 53 votes/ So i think someone likes him that locker room.

  25. Roethlisberger is an average quarterback at best. Why do people simply accept his sack total as “just the way he plays?” Yes, its just the way he plays. Badly, at times. He has some of the worst judgement in the league for a QB. He has traditionally been saved by a great defense and a great running game, and both took a hit this year so, guess what? He can’t even beat Cleveland or Kansas City. He’s turrible. I can name 15 QBs I’d rather have.

  26. stairway27- You are right about it being a passing league now. Just look at the top playoff teams. Favre has passed lights out this year and having a 1400 yard back like AD with 18 td’s getting called slacking and less productive sounds nuts to me. But Favre carried the main load. Maybe the Steeler old timers will just have to adjust the new world order of passing. You are right too,your D stank it up too much as well as special teams.Your O averaged 23 points a game.D needs to help out. See, I knew a Steeler fan would know better! LOL

  27. I am a Bengals fan and hate the Steelers so take this with a grain of salt;
    I just don’t understand why a team would fire their Offensive Coordinator when they had such a great offense and set team records? Sure, they didn’t make the playoffs, but they are one year removed from a Super Bowl Championship. I don’t think Arians is the problem; the problem was the defense not playing a full 60-minutes. I think it was more LeBeau’s fault (and I am a HUGE LeBeau fan) than anyone elses. Give Arians a better O-Line, and the Steelers offense would be as good as the Saints or Colts offense and it pains me to say so.
    Perhaps Tomlin should be the one to go? The current team is more “his” than last year’s Super Bowl team was and look how it tanked.

  28. I have no problem with the franchise QB, one of the most if not THE most important player on the team, expressing an opinion on a coach that directly impacts him every game. But I doubt that Ben was the only reason Arians was “not fired”. BTW, at this point, I would also question some of the “reports” coming out of Pittsburgh.
    I was on record here saying that I didn’t believe Arians was the biggest problem we had, and they should have fired the ST and OL coaches, but I do believe Arians can do a much better overall job with the play calling, mixing it up, and taking even more advantage of his weopons including the running game. To me, Arians is not the greatest OC nor the worst. They had bigger problems on defense and giving up special teams points. I can live with Arians for another, and have no issue with Ben giving his opinion.
    But I seriously doubt that Ben’s opinion was the sole reason Arians was kept. If he was truly terrible, he would be gone right now. I certainly don’t think he was truly terrible.
    And I agree with Whatever, the morons that make up the boring childish names for players because they can’t make their own reasonbly logical point in a post are complete idiots and generate a lack of credibility.

  29. So Laird swears his original report was true and Wexell is tweeting about a golf-buddy conspiracy? Uh-huh.
    The Rooneys gave Mike Tomlin the keys to the team. If you know anything about the way they do business, you know the only person making the decision on Arians was Mike Tomlin. If Ben intervened, it was with Mike Tomlin. Ben may have too much influence with Tomlin, but he doesn’t have the power to override his decisions.
    The rest reads like tales spun by a bunch of biddies gossiping over a back fence. I’m not going to get bent out of shape about some nonsense an ESPN hack and a tweeter are spewing.

  30. Ben is one of the best QBs in the game and his passing in the SBXL playoffs were underrated as Wisenhunt used the pass to set up the run round after round until the SB where Ben had a bad game. But if he keeps playing under this guy Arians, he is in danger of becoming a Jeff George, a guy who put up a lot of yards, but also some bad turnovers. Ben had too many turnovers in the 3rd Q of games. Iin fact, the Steelers offense had way too many bad 3rd Qs indicating a lack of half time adjustments.
    The defense did blow a lot of leads and Dick LeBeau definitely did not have his finest year of coaching even if you take into account player injuries. But the defense did play well in the first 3 Qs of most games which led to the meager offense generated become a lead by the 4th Q which then they dutifully blew. Considering the weak opposition and the fact that the defense bailed out the offense last year, it was the offense’s turn to not just contribute an average number of points, but actually bail out the defense a few times.
    A good coach will still take advantage of Ben;s skills. But there will be days where the passing game alone can’t carrry the team and so the offense should be ready to switch to a run based on conditions like the opposing rush defense and Ben’s form on a certain day. Also a good OC will get the WRs and Ben to get in synch on hot routes and there needs to be better discipline on red zone plays.
    Arians is a SB winning coach just like Switzer was a SB winning coach. Does that mean you want Switzer to coach your team or you want Larry Brown playing in the secondary becaue he was the SB MVP? If Arians was any good, the offense should have put the game away by the 3rd Q with the help of the Harrison INT TD.

  31. I like Jim Wexell and all, but I think he does not have the “sources” he once did. He writes for a Steelers subscription site on the network, (which I do belong), but I think he has resorted to rumor mongering more than anything now. He gets absolutely irritated with anyone that questions any of his thinking in regards to the Steelers and has become unapproachable on the scout boards and on Twitter. He is a great historian of black and gold football and I do enjoy MOST of his writing, but it is getting harder and harder to read his “insider reports” and put much faith in them.

  32. Roethlisberger was able to save Arian’s job because, unlike the head coach, he was mature enough to realize that the team didn’t play well enough on either side of the ball to make the playoffs, and he felt that throwing the OC under the bus wouldn’t change that. Tomlin has probably lost the respect of what’s left of the assistant coaches who were smart enough to win a Super Bowl as recently as last year.

  33. Give me a break. Roethlisberger sucks. As someone pointed out earlier, he is bailed out time after time, year after year, by the running game and the defense.
    Yeah, fully aware he racked up a 500 yard game this year. Wow. Do you know how many QBs who’s names you’ve forgotten who have done the same thing? Every garbage QB is gonna have a lights-out game at some point. Means nothing in their overall career.
    The Steelers have been nothing more than lucky. All Ben’s performances tell us is that, with the RBs and a couple receivers he’s been privileged with, JaMarcus Russell could probably step in and no one would notice the dif.

  34. @kpweaver27 …
    I’d try to explain the difference between coverage sacks, sacks that occur when the QB holds the ball too long, and sacks that are caused by a breakdown in blocking schemes, but I’m sure your head is already beginning to hurt.
    If we were in the same room so I’d be sure you couldn’t cheat, I’d take the bet that you could name 15 active QBs. I doubt it. But if you can, and you’d rather have them than Ben … by all means, take them.

  35. You’re right. The offense is not the problem. Having one of the worst REDZONE offenses in the league is a great statistic to have!
    But who cares? Arians won a Superbowl right? Who cares he had one of the worst statistical offenses in the history of the Superbowl and any real fan knows the team got there in SPITE of that offense.
    You people are loco, Arians has accomplished minimal as the OC of the Pittsburgh Steelers. His numbers inflated because of one of the easiest schedules in the league, yet he continually made mental mistakes, he continually “got greedy”, he continually laid eggs, and he continually proved he has no business coordinating a team that doesnt play in a dome.
    What OC would pass 50 times in freezing temperatures and 30-35MPH winds? BRUCE AIRHEAD!

  36. There is no secret that Big Ben is not the best teammate. He has his team’s respect for what he does on the field, not off. Kind of like the successfull guy at the office, he may be a jerk, but you tolarate him and you’re glad as hell he works with you and not your competition.

  37. Only a moron would say that Ben isn’t one of the top QBs in the game. Look at the numbers, his career numbers, and the way he plays the game behind a spotty O-Line, and then look in the mirror. You will see a moron.

  38. Wexell now backtracking from his previous BS…..
    “Maybe my first report on this was too hyped. Ben didn’t plead, he just made a case for Arians.
    As for the Arians’ leak, here’s the details: Arians wanted confirmation from Tomlin on Tuesday, but Tomlin said he didn’t want to talk about it now, but at the meeting. Arians took that as he was being fired and told some people that. That’s how a few of the players found out, then it leaked
    I may have exaggerated that. Ben just made a case for him”

  39. hate to burst your bubble FLORIO, but didn’t Manning have a public comments about wanting Tom Moore to come back, when it looked like he was leaving after last season? I doubt this is a case of a QB having too much power, like you suggest, didn’t John Elways relationship with Mike Shanahan play a part in him getting hired in Denver, after Dan Reeves was fired? I seriously doubt Big Ben is the first, nor he will be the last player to lobby on behalf of a coach, but I do give you credit for trying to stir up a SH#TSTORM over this, …I wouldn’t expect any less of you

  40. I’ve said it before and I will say it again. Arians just needs to learn how to call his plays situationally. He has great plays and usually has a good set of scripted plays at the start of games. But he struggles to mix his plays. I don’t he doesn’t call enough run plays but he calls them in bunches so its not as effective. For Steeler fans that don’t like him, its not like we have Bill Walsh waiting to hop in their at OC. For people outside of Steeler Nation who are saying this is a bad move, chances are a fair amount of you would say the same thing if he was fired.
    On a semi-related topic: any who says Dick LeBeau should have been fired is a moron. Every coach, every team, every player, has a bad year. The reason the Steelers have 6 Super Bowl trophies is because the ownership has patience. With no disrespect to meant to Norv Turner, I bet if the Chargers hadn’t fired Marty they would have at least played in a SB by now. If you stick with, even a decent, coach long enough he will get you too a Super Bowl.
    For those who said Tomlin should be fired: WTF! He has been the coach 3 years. He has won a SB, gone to playoffs, and had a winning record all three. Like I said before, a little patience is necessary. Steelers can’t win the big game every single year, and the Bengals are having a good year.
    The Steelers finished at 9-7. Once again, the Steelers finished at 9-7. A winning record in arguably the best division in the NFL that has 2 playoff teams. Relax.

  41. “Big Ben is the best QB in the game.”
    Put down the pipe.
    And BTW, Big Ben just got sacked again.

  42. “given that Wexell also points out that Arians is Roethlisberger’s best friend in the organization, and that they golf together.”
    OH! The rape they must have together!!

  43. Geez this is a shocker!! Havent I said that Big Ben has been saving Arians ass for the past 3 articles written about this idiot…..Well big ben bails him out again. First he makes his offense “look” good by throwing for tons of yards on Arians “broken” plays. Now he pleads to keep him and again he saves him. Arians is a moron, Ben is the reason the offense was good not the scheme!! See the 30th ranked red-zone offense….that is terrible….and for those of you who dont know football (which some of you clearly do not) the scheme is much more important in the red-zone than between the 20s, where broken plays can become huge plays based on more space to run go routes.
    And for those of you who blame the D for this years failures…obviously you havent noticed the steelers still rank 5th in total D this year. Yes they gave up leads in the 4th quarter, but its not like they were winning by 14 or 17 like they should have been if they could score TDs in the red-zone and not Fgs. Not to mention they were on the field practically all game, and didnt have the 2 best players on the D for the majority of the season. SO NO it was not the D….our Offense was inconsistant, and pathetic in the red-zone……its all about the coaching this year, and I do not blame lebeau for Tomlins man crush on William GAY

  44. Only one good thing will come from this. Unfortunately, the Steelers’ fans will need to wait a full 365 days until the reward comes. The reward? Arians being fired after the 2010 season! I can’t wait. Arians is in a lose-lose situation; there is nowhere for the vaunted Arians offense to go – except down.
    2009 Rankings:
    7th Offense overall
    12th points scored (Worse than Baltimore)
    17th 3rd down conversion (Worse than Washington)
    19th Rush Offense (Worse than Buffalo; slightly better than the Rams ans Raiders)
    20th Rush TDs (Worse than Browns)
    22nd Red Zone offense (Worse than Jets and Chiefs)

  45. i agree ben is a diva. but he is good, and he wins.
    their OL sucks. no matter what arians calls. is he “the answer” -no. but he isnt all the problem.
    he isnt the gm. he doesnt make goofy hc decisions.
    and he wasnt smith and polamalu hurt on d. those hurt.
    tomlin just got emasculated. kind of like lovey!

  46. Go back and check all the losses. Defense usually lost the games in the 4th Q, but the offense usually lost most of those same games in the 3rd Q. And the offense did not have the same injuries the defense had. And the defense has paid their dues in the past years in bailing out our offense.
    This is what it boils down to. Arians was a coach in Indy when Manning was the QB. he needs to make it clear to Ben that as talented as he is(and Ben is talented), Ben needs to adapt Peyton’s work ethic in terms of studying game film and practiciing timing with his WRs if he wants to be like Peyton and be the center of the team. If Ben is unwilling to put in that commitment, you are going to see more of the same – a lot of dazzling performances mixed in with inexplicable offensive slowdowns for parts of the season and not a lot of points.

  47. Ok I said it after the super bowl win- FIRE ARIANS! I have said it all year this year- FIRE ARIANS! It hasn’t happened. So maybe they are going with the three strikes your out thing. So I will say all year next year (unless BA finally gets his head out of his Browns area of his anatomy) FIRE ARIANS!!! His play calling really stunk during the 5 game loss, I could go on and on but most of you die harders know what plays and situations I mean.
    Last 2 min of 1st Baltimore game.
    The 3rd & 2 3rd string RB sweep at KC
    Empty backfield all year, where most sacks happened.
    Empty backfield inside ten, let’s not even make it look like we might run……sack!
    And finally, it’s amazing that when they run the 2 min offense and Ben is calling the plays…they are usually good calls.

  48. The solution to the Steeler coaching problems lies with the fact that they have a moron, Tomlin, running the show there. The guy was handed a superbowl-ready team, which they sqeaked out inspite of the fact that the guy has done nothing to improve the weak spots on the team. If anyone should be fired in Pittsburgh, it’s Tomlin. Don’t look for that to happen in the next 10 years though, since they’d rather lose than admit that, for them, showcasing the namesake Rooney Rule was a complete failure.

  49. @olcap …
    In one paragraph, you’ve managed to prove yourself ignorant of the game of football, Mike Tomlin, the Steelers from a football perspective, the Steelers from a business perspective, the Rooney Rule, and the character of the Rooneys as businesspeople and human beings. And you’ve proved yourself racist.
    Congratulations, that’s a lot to accomplish in one short post.

  50. Deb,
    + 1
    All these idiots blaming everything on Tomlin must be fans of teams who fire their head coach every other year. They are just mad cuz they watched Tomlin hoist “sticky Lombardi” last year.
    The youngest head coach to win a Super Bowl has a lot to learn, and thankfully the Steelers organization will allow him to continue to grow into the position.
    btw, congrats on the Crimson Tide….Roll Tide!

  51. Of Course Big Ben lobbied for Arians, because Big Ben is a selfish football player. He has 2 rings, now he just wants to throw the ball all over the field, and Arians allows him to do that. He has gotten a taste of what it is like to be Dan Marino, with the entire offense going through his arm, racking up yards and touch downs, etc. Big Ben could care less about running the ball, and now he has atleast another season to try to throw for 500 every week

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