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Arians’ Flying Circus Almost Left Town

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After the Pittsburgh Steelers heartbreaking loss to the Green Bay Packers in last year’s Super Bowl, an eerie pall was cast over the City of Champions.  When you follow the most successful franchise in NFL history, losing is not something to which you’re accustomed.  Let alone losing on the grandest stage of them all.  It leads to depression which in turns leads to crazy thoughts.

“Maybe they weren’t that good after all.”  “Maybe we should let LaMarr Woodley, Ike Taylor and Hines Ward go so we can get Nnamdi Asomugha!”  “Maybe I’ll start watching the Pirates.  How bad can they be?”

Offensive coordinator [intlink id=”31″ type=”category”]Bruce Arians[/intlink] had a crazy thought of his own.  Retirement.

Yes, we came within a couple Pabst Blue Ribbons out on the back porch of the Flying Circus leaving town.  It was only a chummy heart-to-heart with [intlink id=”14″ type=”category”]Ben Roethlisberger [/intlink]which changed BA’s mind.  Man, Big Ben was sure busy this summer.  Organizing unofficial off-season workouts.  Planning a sham marriage.  Talking offensive coordinators out of retirement.

While I tend to criticize Arians more than most, I have to grudgingly give the guy props.  Being an O-coordinator is like screwing in a fish bowl.  No matter how you perform, some wise ass is going to criticize your moves.  The bottom line is this team has gone to two Super Bowls under his watch.  And despite what James Harrison thinks, they lost the big game because the defense choked and Rashard Mendenhall couldn’t hold on to the damn ball.

Remember, James, when you point a finger at someone else, there are three pointing back at you.  Or, in Cotchery’s case, six.

I’m a purist.  I was brought up on Stiller Football and that’s the kind of offense I like.  But time marches on.  The NFL is a passing league in general and the Steelers are a passing team in particular.  The run no longer sets up the pass as much as the pass sets up the run.  And with the group of wide receivers the Steelers have accumulated, you can’t fault them for that.  Smart teams play to their strengths and their receiving corps is among the deepest and most explosive in the NFL.

Which isn’t to say they should chuck the ball 40 times a game.  If Arians could just learn not to call fifty yard bombs in the first quarter when the D is blitzing the hell out of the shaky offensive line, my blood pressure would appreciate it.