Blog Entry

Did PIT ownership take power away from Tomlin?

Posted on: February 9, 2012 10:04 pm
Who hired Todd Haley as Pittsburgh's offensive coordinator? (US Presswire)
By Josh Katzowitz

How much power does Steelers coach Mike Tomlin really have within the organization? That’s the question the Pittsburgh Post Gazette’s Ron Cook asks in a column written after Pittsburgh hired Todd Haley as the new offensive coordinator.

It seems that Tomlin wanted to keep former offensive coordinator Bruce Arians but was told by owner Art Rooney II that Arians would not be brought back for 2012 (Arians subsequently retired and then took a job as the Indianapolis offensive coordinator).

As we wrote last month, “The organization was not going to renew Arians’ contract, and in essence, was going to fire him without officially having to fire him. ‘That decision,’ writes reporter Gerry Dulac, ‘appears to have come from team president Art Rooney II, even though coach Mike Tomlin told Arians several times since the playoff loss in Denver that he wanted him to return next season.’ Now, it appears Tomlin was overruled by his boss.”

Was Tomlin overruled again by having to hire the former Chiefs coach to replace Arians?

As Cook writes:
Hey, all speculation is fair until we hear from Tomlin or more from Rooney. I can't say for sure one way or the other who hired Haley. We might never know. But I do know this: If Rooney forced Haley on Tomlin after forcing out Arians after a 12-4 season, Tomlin can't possibly like it.

Nor should he.

It would be enough to make Tomlin at least consider his long-term future with the Steelers, especially now that Rooney II appears to have taken nearly complete control of the franchise from his father, Dan.

Tomlin has done a wonderful job here. He is as successful as just about any coach in the NFL. In five years, he has convinced me he's a better coach than Bill Cowher before him. And Cowher was terrific.
That said, the Steelers have done well by Tomlin as well, so in reality, he can’t complain that much. And besides, the Rooneys are some of the most respected owners in all of sports.

But they haven’t just risked alienating Tomlin. They’ve also risked upsetting their franchise quarterback.

Pittsburgh's offensive upheaval
"I've gotten a lot of calls and texts and emails from people around the league, both good and bad about (Haley),'' Roethlisberger told the Post Gazette. "Everybody has an opinion, as we all know, and they're letting me know what their interaction with him was -- good, bad and indifferent. I've heard a lot of things and I'm looking forward to meeting him and forming my own opinion."

But Roethlisberger also made sure the owners heard his voice after Arians’ contract wasn’t renewed. And he gave a hint of future frustrations.

"That was my biggest talking point to Mike and those guys -- I would hate to just throw everything out and start over because I feel it would set us back two or three years because these guys are just starting to get it,” Roethlisberger said.

"I hope we don't have to start over and if we do, you know what, here we go. Let's do it. We'll do it. We're not going to complain about it. But I would hate to have to set certain guys back who are doing so well right now."

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, Like Us on Facebook, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're add it, add our RSS Feed.

Since: Sep 12, 2007
Posted on: February 10, 2012 11:12 am

Did PIT ownership take power away from Tomlin?

Haley was Kurt Warner's OC for three years and Warner said this pickup would work well for Big Ben and the Steelers.  I'd accept Warner's opinion in a second over anybody on this board or elsewhere for that matter.

Since: Feb 18, 2009
Posted on: February 10, 2012 10:58 am

Did PIT ownership take power away from Tomlin?

First of all, Ron Cook is dead wrong about virtually all his opinions so the fact that he is trying to make an issue of this and side with Ben.  The perception is that the inmates were running the asylum and that a gentle nudge back to reality had to be made.  Tomlin is a great coach but the fact remains (from Art II's standpoint),  this organization should not rise and fall on the shoulders of a spoiled brat QB whose continued presence in a steelers uniform is a disgrace in itself.  I believe that Art Rooney II resents the damage Ben  Roethlisberger did to the Steelers brand in recent years... the brand his family spent 75 years building.  I doubt if he even remotely cares if Ben is offended by recent events.  Everyone else may have forgiven and forgotten Ben and his boorish behavior but Art has to see and deal daily with many of the people Ben has offended.  He is reminded constantly reminded of what a brat Ben has been.

The world of the Steelers should not revolve around Ben. He has no right to dictate anything... least of all to Art Rooney II.  I think Art is using this as a means of prodding Tomlin into taking control of his team again. Ben needs to humble himself and listen to his coaches and do his best to make whatever system they run as  successful as possible.  He should go out of his way to make Haley comfortable, not continue pouting like the spoiled brat he is.

Since: Oct 23, 2006
Posted on: February 10, 2012 10:58 am

Did PIT ownership take power away from Tomlin?

It is very tough to judge how good of a coach Mike Tomlin is because when he was hired he inherited a SuperBowl ready team, with a young "franchise QB" already in place.  So basically Tomlin should needed not to screw things up.  Most first time coaches never come into a situation like Tomlin is unheard of.

What would Tomlin have done in Detroit, JAX, Buffalo?  Pretty sure he would have already been replaced.  I think Tomlin is a good coach, but we never will know how good.   Seems like the Steelers are no too sure as well.

Since: Oct 18, 2011
Posted on: February 10, 2012 10:00 am

Did PIT ownership take power away from Tomlin?

Haley was not a successful Head Coach.

Since: Nov 21, 2006
Posted on: February 10, 2012 3:20 am

Did PIT ownership take power away from Tomlin?

This is just a media outlet trying to stir up a story, sad it's a Pittsburgh paper trying to do it.

Number one, Tomlin shouldn't have that much power anyways, it should be a balance of scales and measures to keep all in check, and ultimately the owner needs to have the final say.  He's the one that signs the pay checks.

If I own a widget factory, and my comapany is consistently on top, but seems to fall short of the best more often than not, I'm going to want to improve it as the owner.  That's all Art did.  Replace a part, the part that seemed to be the one that was holding the team back.

So many are trying to make this entire OC into a huge conspiracy.

Plain and simple, Art Rooney was not satisfied with Arians and elected to not re-hire him.  He wasn't fired, and the Rooney family even went as far as to say that Arians was retiring to help him save face.  But Arians went and spilled the beans about how it all went down.

I find it hard to believe that The Rooney family would just be like, "Hey Mike, this is what we are doing, are you on board with us, cause you have no say in it."  The Steelers are not run like the Cowboys, Redskins, or the Al Davis run Raiders.

I'm sure that Tomlin has been a large part of picking a new OC.  Tomlin and Art Rooney probably sat down with Todd Haley and told him what they wanted, expected, and what they invisioned.  Haley impressed them enough to get the position.

As for Ben, I am a huge fan of his, but he needs to know his place and just accept the fact that he, though the face of the franchise, is just an employee.  Ben's concerns are legitament, but it's not like the Steelers hired some guy off of a High School team in Iowa.  He's a former succesful OC, and a former succesful Head Coach.

Ben, change is not always a bad thing.  Succesful teams like the Patriots change OC's it seems like every year, and they remain one of the premier teams yearly.  There is no reason to believe that with the Steelers talent they can't do they same.

Todd Haley is a Pittsburgh, boy, and in my eyes there's nothing better for a team than an employee who is or was a fan of theirs.  Just look at Charlie Batch.

Todd Haley was a good hire, and once the Steelers put points on the board this upcoming year, all will be forgotten.

Since: Jan 17, 2012
Posted on: February 10, 2012 12:55 am

Did PIT ownership take power away from Tomlin?

Todd Haley is the best thing that could possibly happen to this franchise!  The relationship between BA and BB might have been like father and son and the relationship between BA and MT might have been like Amos and Andy but the realtionship between BA and the Steeler Nation, in my opinion, was very strained.  Arians underwhelmed  and left you constantly saying "Really Bruce?  That's what you called?  That's your answer in this situation?"  How many points did the Steelers leave in the RED ZONE this year, once they got in there?  Also Tomlin looked stupid at times this season in his inability to control the "time outs-when to take them" and in a similar vein "clock-management" and "challenging calls or spots in a timely manner"!  Haley will be more of a control freak and will get Ben to be better able to manage the game more. 

Since: Dec 7, 2011
Posted on: February 10, 2012 12:21 am

Did PIT ownership take power away from Tomlin?

well the owner is the boss. if the boss doesnt like you or the jobyou do, it is almost always. hit the road jack. i like the way the article put it. fired him without having to fire him. these coaches dont like the players somebody else gets them, but when they get the players themselves, they usually get worse players.

Since: Dec 5, 2011
Posted on: February 10, 2012 12:08 am

Did PIT ownership take power away from Tomlin?

Ownership wanting to get rid of Arians made no sense.  The NFL is now a throwing league, and the Steelers had one of the best passing attacks in the league, even with a crappy offensive line.  Does Rooney II think the team is going to be able to put together a running attack with that line???  Maybe they should have drafted a few lineman the last couple of years.  The Steelers have a great quarterback and one of the best tandems of young wide receivers in the league, making any attempt to change to a running team look about as stupid as possible.  Rooney II looks real bad here, and makes all Steeler fans worry about the future.   

Since: Jul 7, 2007
Posted on: February 10, 2012 12:02 am

Did PIT ownership take power away from Tomlin?

this one will blow up on them. Haley and Big Ben will be like oil and water thru no fault of the head coach, just an overzealous owner eager to hire and ex ball boy.

Since: Aug 19, 2006
Posted on: February 9, 2012 11:40 pm

Did PIT ownership take power away from Tomlin?

Absolute joke that people are all over tomlin!  Good knowledgable young coach.  YEARS ahead of his peers.  I do think it was mistake to let Ben play down the stretch as hurt as he was.  That decision may have cost them a chance to make a deeper run in the playoffs but he is a "players" coach so he has to be true to himself.  Again, he is young and still learning.  He is certainly NOT the problem in Pittsburgh.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or