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Art Rooney Must Answer To Big Ben

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Anybody else expecting a nice quiet off-season for the Pittsburgh Steelers?

If so, you’ve got to be sorely disappointed. The Steelers coaching carousel continues to go round-and-round with yesterday’s news that linebackers coach Keith Butler is in serious negotiations to join the Indianapolis Colts as their defensive coordinator. Butler has long been tabbed as Dick LeBeau‘s heir apparent to the point the Steelers refused to allow him to interview with Pittsburgh West Arizona about their DC job last summer. However, his contract is up this year and with LeBeau returning next season, it looks like he’s sick of waiting his turn.

In a twist of irony, if Butler does leave for Indianapolis, he’ll join ex-offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, who was named the Colts OC on Friday. Wait, I thought BA had “retired?” That bald-faced lie went up in smoke faster than Bret Favre’s last three “retirements.” In fact, team president Art Rooney II (who from this point on, I’ll nickname the Deuce as to separate him from the one true honorable Art Rooney) has now all but admitted it was his call to can Arians.

“I think the questions of how we got here are not really relevant,” the Deuce told the Post-Gazette when pressed on the issue of where the dismissal of Arians came from. If that non-denial denial wasn’t damning enough, he all but outed himself two sentences later when he said, “I think it was time for a change, and we’re looking forward to moving on.” Oh, YOU think it’s time for a change, huh Artie? What does your HEAD COACH think? Or doesn’t his opinion matter?

This entire affair has left a very sour taste in my mouth. The Steeler Way has always been to let the coaches coach while the owners own. Now all of  a sudden some guy who found the Golden Ticket by virtue of being born with the last name Rooney is deciding what kind of offense we should run and who our assistant coaches should be. What’s more, he’s being completely dishonest with the media (and by proxy, the fans) about who is making the decisions and why they are being made.

This is the kind of blatantly dishonest doubletalk the Nutting Regime would get excoriated for. Unlike other Steeler blogs who may allow their Black and Gold colored glasses to gloss over this disturbing behavior, I have to wonder what is happening to our Pittsburgh Steelers. Since when does the Steeler Way involve the owner meddling in the day-to-day operations of the team? Since when does the Steeler Way mean floating clearly bogus stories involving why certain members of the organization have been dismissed?

While the Arians was packing his bags, ex-Indy head coach Jim Caldwell was seen in town meeting with Mike Tomlin. That’s just brilliant. Hire a guy who has NEVER been an offensive coordinator on any level to take over an offense that was on the verge of being one of the NFL’s best. Prior to being named head coach, Caldwell served as the Colts’ quarterbacks coach/assistant head coach for seven season where he stood on the sideline while Peyton Manning basically did his job for him, making him look infinitely more capable than he actually was. If the Steelers hire this doofus, I predict it’ll be about three games before Steeler Nation is pining for a return of the Flying Circus.

One person already upset over the way this off-season has unfolded is superstar quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Big Ben gave a pointed interview to the Tribune-Review where he said, “When I get back, I’m going to go up to Mr. Rooney’s office and ask him what he wants from me, what he wants from this offense, because I think that’s a viable question for him.”  Good luck getting a straight answer from that dirty liar, Ben. Our Super Bowl winning QB does pose a legitimate question, though. This season, the Steelers posted two 1,000 yard receivers and a 4,000 yard passer for only the third time in team history. Yes, the scoring output wasn’t where we wanted it to be but we also finished with the fewest sacks and fewest turnovers on defense in 15 years. I don’t see LeBeau’s job being in jeopardy.

The bottom line is, Rooney’s idiotic quest for a return to Stiller Football is going to end in disaster. We FINALLY beat the Patriots this year because we finally had an offense that could keep up with them. Sure the season didn’t end the way we wanted but when you have a busted up-QB playing behind second and third string offensive lineman and they still manage to keep the game even despite the defense getting absolutely torched every time the other team touches the ball, I’m not sure how you can say “blow it up and start over.” The bottom line is the NFL is a passing league, which isn’t bad since the Steelers best offensive players are their quarterback and young receivers. You win by emphasizing your strengths.

Let’s hope the wanna-be Chief realizes that before we all have to learn the hard way.