Steelers say Mike Tomlin made the decision to fire Bruce Arians

AP

A new profile of Cardinals coach Bruce Arians has dusted off questions regarding one of the most notorious retirements in NFL history. Arians clearly was fired, and it becomes even more clear from the interview of Arians and his wife from Andrea Kremer of HBO’s Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel that the focal point of their frustration was and is Steelers coach Mike Tomlin.

It nevertheless had been believed by many that Tomlin was simply the messenger, and that the decision had been made about his head. The Steelers say otherwise.

“We did contact the Steelers, and we asked them if they had a comment on this,” Kremer said during a Tuesday visit to PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio. “And they said, ‘Look, this is ancient history for us. Mike’s already talked about this.’ But [they] made it clear that this was Mike Tomlin’s decision, to fire Bruce Arians.”

Kremer also explained that Arians believes Tomlin’s hands were tied. Still, the fact that Tomlin received a contract extension not long after Arians was let go made Arians believe that he’d been sold out — especially since Arians believed that he and Tomlin were tied together.

Cardinals T-shirts currently carry the words “trust,” “loyalty,” and “respect.” Said Arians at one point to Kremer: “Yeah, well, those are words that I don’t think are on the Steelers’ jerseys.”

Tune in to HBO tonight at 10:00 p.m. ET for the full Arians profile. Also, check out the PFT Live podcast at iTunes or audioBoom for the full Kremer interview.

55 responses to “Steelers say Mike Tomlin made the decision to fire Bruce Arians

  1. Tomlin is a horrible coach. Wouldn’t even be a passing thought on most other teams. Hiring a young black coach does set well with the Rooney’s I guess.

  2. I’m not the biggest Tomlin fan, but Haley was an upgrade. Ben has never looked better, and has played in a much safer manner.

  3. Tomlin has no power as a coach. He has the least amount of power next to John Harbaugh as far as being a Head Coach. Why do you think it took so long to get rid of Dick Lebeau. Im sure Tomlin wanted him gone a long time ago.

  4. On one hand, Haley’s offense is more explosive and Ben isn’t getting hit nearly as much. On the other hand, Tomlin likely realized that Arians was the head coach in waiting and got rid of him before anyone else figured that out. If Arians had stuck around, Tomlin likely would have been let go in one of those post Tebow seasons, and I don’t think anyone expects high moral ground from the guy that lets Joey Porter clown around.

  5. the Steelers made a good decision to move on from Arians. their offense was under performing, the line was crumbling, and Ben would have had to retire early at the rate he was getting sacked. the team needed to make a change, and they did. football’s a business – and Bruce Arians wasn’t getting the job done as a coordinator.

    That being said – Arians is a great guy, and a much better head coach than coordinator. he proved that with the job he did in Indy when Pagano had to step away, and he’s built the Cardinals into serious contenders. if Carson Palmer didn’t get hurt two years ago – that team had Super Bowl written all over it. the Steelers moved on and now have one of the best offenses in the NFL. both sides “won” in this situation. i can see why Arians may have been a bit bitter about his firing at the time, but you would think he now realizes it was the best thing to ever happen in his career.

  6. Firing Arians was a great decision by the Steelers. He was NOT A GOOD OC. He is a great head coach and it seems like he is better off. Steelers offense is flourishing with Haley. This was a great decision for both sides. Everyone who isn’t an idiot knows this.

  7. Anyone who believes this is slow. Every time rumors came up about this even a year before he got pushed out when it was reported Arians was out before he came back that last year, it was always attributed to the Rooneys not liking the direction the team was going away from smash mouthed football toward a more finesse, pass-centric team. Tomlin is a Tampa 2 disciple and still hasn’t implemented those principles on that side of the ball as the whole defensive personnel has turned over in the meantime (rightfully so by the way), as Keith Butler was the DC heir apparent forever and a day there. The Steelers have an organizational vision of how they play football, and it’s obviously worked since they’ve been rebuilding since 2012 and nobody seems to know it as they’ve never finished less than 8-8. Their defense was horrid last year yet if a fumble doesn’t happen late in that Denver game, they came closest to beating the eventual champs on their home field with their QB playing with 1 arm. So yeah, it’s not broken, so don’t fix it.

  8. We have already begun witnessing the Steelers’ long, slow, and steady decline to become a third tier NFL team like the Cleveland Browns.

    Big Ben’s shelf life is nearing his expiration date. His many injuries have begun to slow him down and diminish his once formidable talents.

    This season should be the one where the Bengals clearly dominate and supplant the Steelers and help the Steelers on their journey to become another Cleveland.

  9. To the guys who say Tomlin is “a horrible coach,” you’re clueless. There have been almost 200 head coaches in NFL history, and of those who’ve coached as many games as Tomlin has in the books – Tomlin is ranked NINTH in all-time NFL winning percentage (behind only George Allen, George Halas, Don Shula, Paul Brown, Tony Dungy, Bill Belichick, Mike McCarthy and George Seifert).

    In nine season, Tomlin has zero losing seasons. Zero. Only Vince Lombardi, John Madden and George Allen coached that long (or longer) with nary a single losing season.

    Tomlin replaced Arians with Haley. At the time, I was one of the very few who was vehemently opposed to the move. In those days, many in Steeler Nation vented frustration on Arians, and wanted him gone.

    But looking back on it through hindsight, it appears that Tomlin may have had a point (and I may have missed it at the time). To wit, Ben used to get the crap kicked out of him playing in Arians’s system — but Ben has been far more healthy now that he’s comfortable under Haley’s system.

    The Steeler offense is among the best in the League, and if we don’t lose any more Heaths and Martavis(s) for the season (i.e., Ben, A.B., Bell, Pounce, etc.) stay healthy – it’s going to be fun (unless you hate Pittsburgh). In fact, it’s far more prolific and productive than it ever was under Arians — whose year benefitted greatly by a stellar defense.

    As for Arians, I have long been a huge supporter of his – but his blame-assessing insult-flinging hissy fit now is not a good look. He comes off as an angry butthurt jilted lover. He should have just taken the high road, but he was not a big enough man to do that.

  10. Loyalty….lol…

    Arians was fired by Tomlin to get him out of the way in case the Steelers were looking to change things up themselves. Either way, what a bunch of millionaire babies…

  11. Until Bruce Arians is fired from the cardinals organization. Then trust, loyalty and respect mean nothing. Arians had a nice run with the steelers. He picked up a sb ring, and the steelers were ready to move on. It’s over Bruce, let it go.

  12. @paulieorkid – that data is skewed a bit though. It’s not like Tomlin took over a Steeler team that was reeling and coming off back to back terrible seasons. As much as I hate to admit it, the Steeler franchise has been solid for a long time. Tomlin got the job because Cowher retired. There was nothing to re-build. He was handed the keys to a tuned race-car, with a long standing franchise QB, not a Pinto that needed re-built.

  13. I don’t think Tomlin is the right coach for the Steelers at this point. Most – even here – admit the Steelers have one of the BEST offenses in the NFL and have now for a couple of years. And their defense is at least average. Yet, Tomlin just can’t bring it together – this team should be unstoppable.

    Put into perspective – with the talent this team has imagine if Chuck Noll or Bill Cower still had the reigns. They would have #7 already. Instead, the end of these last couple of seasons felt like pregnant woman had false labor.

    Rooneys need to stop hiring people because they have a certain skin color. That itself is racist. Instead they need to hire a talented coach that can induce labor and get that baby born!

  14. realfootballfan says:
    Jun 21, 2016 11:00 AM
    Anyone who believes this is slow. Every time rumors came up about this even a year before he got pushed out when it was reported Arians was out before he came back that last year, it was always attributed to the Rooneys not liking the direction the team was going away from smash mouthed football toward a more finesse, pass-centric team

    Anyone who believes that the Rooneys were driving the team toward a more smash mouth football run-heavy approach is the one who is slow.

    The Steelers run the ball even less now.

    Steelers ran the ball 44.8% of the time from 2007-2011 under Arians.
    They’ve run it 38.09% of the time from 2012-2015 under Haley.

  15. @tylereifertisunstoppable, the team Tomlin took over was a .500 ball club.

    That team Tomlin took over has done as well or better than .500 for all nine years.

    Of the team Tomlin took over, all that’s left is Ben, Deebo and a long-snapper – and Tomlin and Colbert jointly select the players that have kept his winning percentage at NINTH amongst all Head Coaches in NFL history to coach as many games.

    As for the argument a team being solid for a long time prior gives someone a permanent “race-car” – that angle is absolutely meritless. The Detroit Lions were a powerhouse for many years in the ’50’s. The Cleveland Browns were once a dominant team in the ’40’s to ’60’s. The Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders were legendary, and check them out since they got hosed off in Super Bowl XXXVII after the 2002 season.

    There are a lot of Tomlin haters out there, and I’m certainly not one of them.

  16. itsfootballbaby says:

    I’m not sure why Arians is complaining.
    ———————————————————

    He’s complaining because Tomlin wasn’t straight up with him, not because he was fired.

  17. I think Arians needs to move on whatever the circumstances, for his own good. Lots of stuff goes on that we may never know about so who knows what the entire story is. He seems to be doing a good job in Carolina so why not just focus on that and forget about the past. It seems to have worked out well for him to be sure.

  18. Arians is a very good HC. As an O-Coordinator, he lets his qb’s get crushed. The Steelers made a decision that Ben was more important than Bruce. 100 out of 100 times this is the right call.

  19. What a terribly sad and bitter man Bruce Arians apparently is. As much success as he had seen in his time since the Steelers, it sure seems like he could move on from all “woulda/coulda/shoulda” scenarios. Sadly, like with many weak-minded folks, the Steelers will live, rent-free in Arians feeble mind for years to come. Quite sad indeed.

  20. bradyakagod says:
    Jun 21, 2016 10:47 AM
    And they haven’t won a Super Bowl since or a playoff game. (Cincy win didn’t count since the bengals self imploded.)

    79 87

    Because the Steelers didn’t cheat against the Bungals doesn’t mean they didn’t deserve to win. I know you Pat’s fans like your cheaters.

    Much ado about nothing. Tomlin is paid very well to be the Rooney’s fall guy……yawn. No story here ladies time to move on.

  21. Tomlin should call Bill Cowher every night before bed and thank him for the team he built and having a young franchise qb in place when Tomlin took the job. You could ay the same for having a running game too along with the best DC in football.

  22. @paulieorkid. – I wasn’t talking about the Steelers of the 70’s. I was referring to the immediately preceding decade, and I didn’t say that anything was permenant. .500 isn’t that bad either, with the margin of victory so close in the NFL. I’m not trying to convince you to hate your coach, but Tomlin’s transition to the Steelers was not even comparable to what Hue is going to have to go through in Cleve-land.

  23. The man hasn’t coached in 10 years. It hasn’t been his team for all ten.

  24. BenAnderson58 ,
    You mean including the years before they drafted Bell and had duck tape at the RB position? Fact is that since they drafted Bell, they are a power rushing team again. Btw, the stories are on this very site about the Rooneys wanting to dump Arians and get back to that approach, just like back in the late 90s when they did the same with Ron Erhardt when he strayed too far from the smash mouthed philosophy. I’m a big Arians fan, but he’s off base on this one. Even in his own words he was saying Tomlin was trying to get him a raise and then pretty much got overruled. If you call doing what your bosses tell you to do (i.e. the people who write the checks) disloyal, then you live in a very strange world. Oh, and of course they’re going to say it was his call. It’s why he gets paid $6 mil a year, to take the PR bullets like this.

  25. First off, 3 coach’s in almost 50 years tells everyone that Arians was not going to become the head coach. 2nd If the Rooneys did think that high of Bruce, I don’t think they let Tomlin release him of his duties (we’ll call it). Finally….Let’s hear it for Haley. Who pretty much allowed all involved to save face.

  26. Folks keep saying that BA is better HC than OC, I am assuming they do not realize that BA is calling the plays in AZ. And I do not think it is fair that folks are saying BA needs to get over it. He does not just come out and discuss these things. It was apart of the interview. He has not said a word about since the departure unless asked. Go Red Birds

  27. You ever notice how they try to give Arians this image as a cool, laid back, deeper than the rest of us kind of guy without a care in the world yet all this guy does is bitch and moan.

    He’s got a comment about everything and everybody but then he puts his Jeff cap back on and he’s back to being that cooooooool guy again thats above it all….until the next day when he’s commenting on some other coach’s offense or team or when he was wronged this way or that.

    I honestly don’t care about the Steelers or Cardinals either way. It just seems like this guy has credit for God speaking through him based on not really doing anything really special.

    At the end of the day he’s had a couple good seasons and lost when it really counted but when he speaks everyone jumps through hoops to hear what he has to say.

  28. Well the Steelers did beat a Bruce Arians coached Cardinals team last year while playing Mike Vick and Landary Jones at QB.

  29. Oh boo hoo to you Bruce Arians. If you were never “fired” from the Steelers you would not have inherited Andrew Luck and won Coach of the Year and you would not have got the gig in Arizona. Everything happens for a reason and it worked out for you. Tomlin was tired of seeing Ben laying flat on his back while the defense was carrying the team back then (roles have now reversed). Your style of offense had your team starting their 3rd and 4th string Qb in the playoffs a few years ago in Az. Put a period and move on.

  30. Folks keep saying that BA is better HC than OC, I am assuming they do not realize that BA is calling the plays in AZ. And I do not think it is fair that folks are saying BA needs to get over it. He does not just come out and discuss these things. It was apart of the interview. He has not said a word about since the departure unless asked. Go Red Birds

    Well he could just dismiss it in the interview. Ken Whisenhunt and Russ Grimm have more of a beef with the Steelers than Arians should. Amazing how they all wound up with Az though.

  31. jm91rs says:
    Jun 21, 2016 10:59 AM
    On one hand, Haley’s offense is more explosive and Ben isn’t getting hit nearly as much. On the other hand, Tomlin likely realized that Arians was the head coach in waiting and got rid of him before anyone else figured that out.

    ***************************************************************************************

    Arians was an average, at best, OC while in Pittsburgh. Had Tomlin been canned for any reason during Arians’ tenure as OC, I’d bet the rest of my life’s salary that Arians would not be named his replacement on more than an interim basis.

  32. troy43mvp says:
    Jun 21, 2016 2:55 PM
    First off, 3 coach’s in almost 50 years tells everyone that Arians was not going to become the head coach. 2nd If the Rooneys did think that high of Bruce, I don’t think they let Tomlin release him of his duties (we’ll call it). Finally….Let’s hear it for Haley. Who pretty much allowed all involved to save face.

    WR screens on 3rd and 10 or sending all WRs on go routes on 3rd and 2 is getting a little old.

  33. Tomlin is the worst coach in the league at making halftime adjustments. His first half strategy is pretty good, but he is famous for making no changes at halftime. Just ask Matt Williamson.

  34. realfootballfan says:
    Jun 21, 2016 2:41 PM
    BenAnderson58 ,
    You mean including the years before they drafted Bell and had duck tape at the RB position? Fact is that since they drafted Bell, they are a power rushing team again.

    Seriously, what team do you watch on Sundays?
    Not only are they NOT a power running team, Bell has only eight 100 yard rushing games in 35 starts. DeAngelo Williams has 4 in only 10 starts.

    It’s not because Bell can’t run the ball, it’s because he’s too valuable as a receiver out of the backfield to rationalize devoting enough carries to the run game to make him an accomplished runner from a statistical standpoint.

    I wrote it before, but apparently you ignored it, so I’ll explain it again using the raw data.
    FACT is that from 2007 through 2011 the Steelers ran the ball 2,302 times out of a possible 5,037 offensive snaps, or 44.8% of the time.
    From 2012 through 2015 they ran it 1,615 times out of a possible 4,125 offensive snaps. This despite Bell missing 13 starts in the past three seasons forcing the Steelers to actually use the RB in a traditional role; as a ball carrier primarily.

    Neither Arians, not Haley utilize a fullback, a hallmark or a power rushing team. Both Munchak and Kugler favor a zone blocking scheme, although Munch uses more inside stuff than Kugler ever did.
    The Steelers haven’t used a power run game since 2006.

  35. And for those unaware, Arians had Antonio Brown stance in 2010 and 2011 – was that A.B. was merely a Practice Squad guy. That’s right. Arians would have left A.B. unprotected against bids from the other 31 teams.

    Not cool.

    It’s a heck of a good thing Tomlin and Colbert believed that A.B. was roster-worthy and took a stand on his behalf. I wonder if Arians mentions that in his HBO tantrum.

  36. Aww, man. We keeps getting burned bad. Bruce runs off and has nothing but winning seasons while we sit back here getting our a$$ handed to us by the Donkeys. Tomlin got to go and fast.

  37. @tylereifertisunstoppable:

    First off, NO ONE is arguing that Tomlin’s row to hoe was more difficult than Hue Jackson’s. I’m not sure where you got that. C’mon man.

    Secondly, Tomlin took the 8-8 team Cowher left him with and went 55-25 over the next 5 years. That’s (of course) an average of 11 wins/season.

    Tomlin is not only not a bad coach, as many here seem to think. As illustrated previously, he overruled Arians – who wanted to assign Antonio Brown to the Practice Squad (which would leave A.B. UNPROTECTED). Smart move. Real foresight.

    Mike T is a very strong coach; his hire was not about race; and we’re damned lucky to have him.

  38. Tomlin is a bug-eyed coward who talks out both sides of his mouth. Arians is better off now that he was forced out of the cesspool of our nation. The Cardinals are lucky to have an actual HC and not some “inspirational speaker” who is incompetent at his profession. Haley will be the next sacrifice as soon as Coach T needs to make a move to satisfy the Rooneys.

  39. 50 year Steeler fan here! All I have to say is what Arians has achieved speaks for itself. ALL I have to say about Tomlin is how he stepped on the field to stop an opponent and was NOT FIRED the next day,shows you how the Rooneys have changed! Then to say you did not realize,when he was looking at a big screen watching what he was doing, is beyond PATHETIC!

  40. I just want to see the Cards and the Steelers meet
    in the Superbowl, and may the best coached team win.

  41. jchipwood said:
    “Tomlin should call Bill Cowher every night before bed and thank him for the team he built and having a young franchise qb in place when Tomlin took the job.”

    Oh please. Only two position players remain from Cowher: Ben and Harrison, and Cowher did not want to select Ben in the draft. Dan Rooney told Cowher to take Ben.

    Look, Cowher was a good coach, but he also delivered an 8-8 team to his successor, who has long since successfully rebuilt the team. Let’s not carried away with canonizing Cowher.

  42. This dude is always looking for air time. Shut up and coach. Nobody cares anymore.

Leave a Reply

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

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.