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Why don’t the Arizona Cardinals just change their colors to Gold and Black and be done with it?

Former Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator and Indianapolis Colts interim head coach Bruce Arians has been named the new head coach of the Cardinals. He replaces another ex-Steelers OC, Ken Whisenhunt, who was fired despite being the most successful coach in Arizona history. Arians beat out several other candidates for the job including current Steelers OC Todd Haley and former Steelers secondary coach/current Arizona DC Ray Horton.

At least we think he beat out Haley for the job. There is evidently some confusion over whether Boss Todd even interviewed with the Cardinals.

The bottom line here is Bruce Arians is now an NFL head coach. This culminates a strange odyssey which began over a year ago when he was happily entrenched as our OC despite constantly drawing the ire of loudmouth yinzers who blame every setback on playcalling. BA was extremely close with QB Ben Roethlisberger and their buddy-buddy relationship was seen as a main reason the Steelers’ offense became more and more pass heavy in recent years. Steelers President Art Rooney II didn’t like this situation and went over head coach Mike Tomlin‘s head to engineer Arians’ firing shortly after the Steelers got Tebow’d out of last year’s playoffs.

Note I said Arians was “fired.” At the time, the dishonest Steelers front office told reporters that Arians was actually retiring. Of course, his “retirement” lasted all of two weeks as he soon accepted a job as OC for the Indianapolis Colts. I don’t mean this to sound callous so please understand when I say with the utmost sympathy and respect that hooking on with the Colts turned out to be an extremely fortuitous move for BA. Indy head coach Chuck Pagano was diagnosed with leukemia which left Arians the interim head coach for the bulk of the season. By leading a team full of young players one year removed from the worst record in football to a 9-3 mark and playoff berth, Arians emerged as a hot head coaching candidate.

Arians certainly has his work cut out for him in Arizona. I had my issues with his Flying Circus style of playcalling but he was never as bad as Steeler fans made him out to be. As we saw with Haley this past season, OCs are only as smart as their players execute. You can’t run unless you have a good line and good backs and you can’t score points if your receivers can’t catch the ball.

What Arians is undoubtedly good at is working with quarterbacks. He was the OC in Cleveland when they made the playoffs with the likes of Kelly Holcomb and Tim Couch. He was Ben’s QB guru from the moment he set foot in Pittsburgh. Last season, he did a masterful job with first overall pick Andrew Luck. The QB position was an absolute disaster for Arizona this year so in many ways the choice of Arians would seem a perfect fit.

I think I speak for all of Steeler Nation when I say we wish him well.

 

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Signs of the apocalypse… Seth MacFarlane, master of crotch and puke jokes, will be hosting the black tie Academy Awards. Lindsay Lohan is suing someone for hurting her. And the newest NFL head coach is Bruce Arians.

Wait, what?

Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano was diagnosed with leukemia during their bye week. Thankfully, the prognosis is positive and he’s expected to make a full recovery. That’s really good to hear and I, of course, wish him well. Pagano will be undergoing aggressive treatment over the next six weeks, leaving the Colts with no choice but appoint an interim head coach in his absence.

And that man is…

Bruce Arians.

Not bad for a retiree, huh?

Naturally I’m referring to the ridiculous lie Mike Tomlin told the gullible local press when Arians was unceremoniously canned by Art Rooney II. Never bother to tell the truth, such as Arians was fired by a meddlesome know-nothing owner, when a lie will serve just as well. That should be the official motto of Tomlin’s dishonest regime. Unfortunately for them, Arians threw a wrench into their plans when he came out of “retirement”  three weeks later to become the Colts’ offensive coordinator.

Arians will happily cede the position back to Pagano when he recovers from his illness. But if the Colts play well under his direction, it could open up the possibility of a head coaching job in Arians’ future. He wouldn’t be the first former Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator to move to the top job. Over the years at least a half dozen former Black and Gold OC’s have gotten the call, including two current NFL head coaches, Chan Gailey and Ken Whisenhunt.

Whiz, it should be noted, is currently at the helm of one of the league’s three remaining unbeaten teams. He’s worked wonders with a Cardinals offense that doesn’t have a legit top-flight QB while former Steelers secondary coach Ray Horton has the Arizona Cardinals playing some of the best defense in football. The Steelers blow on D, the Arizona Cardinals have the Crimson Curtain. The end is truly nigh.

What’s truly ironic is Whisenhunt initially wanted Steelers linebackers coach Keith Butler but the Steelers refused to let Dick LeBeau‘s presumed heir apparent go. They seemingly had no problem with Horton heading out west and now it looks like they let one of the brightest young D-coordinators slip through their fingers.

Back to Arians, I’m glad he’ll get a chance at being a head coach, albeit under the worst of circumstances. I had issues with some of his offensive playcalling but when I saw idiot yinzers calling for new O-coordinator Todd Haley‘s head after the season-opening loss in Denver, I realized that their understanding of offense is limited to “Did we win?” Arians produced huge numbers here, including two 1,000 yard receivers, a 1,000 yard rusher and 4,000 yard passer for the first time in Steelers history.

His offense was so beloved by Ben Roethlisberger that he’s still running it. For those who didn’t hear, Big Ben let it slip in the aftermath of the Raiders loss that during the two minute drill, he scrapped the Todd Haley offense and went back to the Flying Circus playbook. Hoooboy. I wonder how many beer cans Boss Todd crushed against his head when he heard about that.

In any case, Ben was clearly a fan of Bruce Arians. And clearly the Colts are happy with him, as well. The Steelers offense has been mostly fine without him so I’m not saying we should regret letting him go. Although we may think differently when Haley grabs Ben’s jersey and reams him a new one for underthrowing a screen pass. The grass, as they say, is not always greener.

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This Sunday it will be deja vu all over again when the [intlink id="20" type="category"]Pittsburgh Steelers[/intlink] face off against the Arizona Cardinals. The Cards are still led by our ex-offensive coordinator, Ken Whisenhunt, and boast a roster filled with refugees from the Black and Gold. Whiz must really admire his old franchise (and why shouldn’t he?) what with his almost comical fetish for adding ex-Steelers to his team. When the Steelers step inside the Big Toaster on Sunday, they’ll see no fewer than four ex-teammates across the sidelines with two more members of the roster having played their college ball at Pitt.

Pittsburgh and their slacker younger brother have faced each other twice since that fateful off-season of 2007 when [intlink id="49" type="category"]Bill Cowher[/intlink] left to exchange phony laughs with James Brown and pretend to understand the words coming out of Shannon Sharpe’s mush-mouth. Whiz, the obvious heir apparent (he even has his own mini-Chin!), was surprisingly eliminated early in the process, leading him to bolt for the head job in Arizona. After the media erroneously reported longtime offensive line coach Russ Grimm had won the job, the Steelers announced they were going with a relatively unknown defensive coordinator from Minnesota named [intlink id="45" type="category"]Mike Tomlin[/intlink]. That year, the two teams met during the regular season with the Cardinals scoring an emotional victory in a game their spurned head coach badly wanted to win.

Of course, the next time the two teams met, the Steelers would walk away with a victory in Super Bowl XLIII. He who laughs last, laughs best and all that.
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