Daily Archives: January 24, 2012

Tomlin Says Arians Retiring from Coaching

The Steelers will have a new offensive coordinator in 2012, as Mike Tomlin said today that offensive coordinator Bruce Arians is retiring from coaching.

The 57-year-old Arians joined the Steelers as the wide receivers coach in 2004 and was promoted to offensive coordinator in 2007.

Tomlin announced the move in a statement Friday, lauding Arians for “helping lead our offense to new heights.”

Arians entered the NFL as a running backs coach for the Kansas City Chiefs in 1989 and served as Peyton Manning’s first quarterback coach. His NFL resume also includes stints with the New Orleans Saints and Cleveland Browns.

Leave your comments below with who you want the Steelers to hire as a new OC for the team moving forward.

Source: Steelers Gab

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Arians’ departure not his choice, he tells York newspaper

Several days after what the Steelers called his retirement, Bruce Arians said they gave him no choice but to leave the team as offensive coordinator because they did not offer him a contract renewal.

Source: post-gazette.com - Steelers/NFL


Roethlisberger case settled for “less than a game check”

Word emerged late Friday afternoon that Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had settled the sexual assault lawsuit filed against him in July 2009 in Nevada.  It’s the ideal time each week for otherwise significant developments to go largely unnoticed. Given the events of the intervening weekend, including two epic conference title games and the passing of…

Source: ProFootballTalk » Pittsburgh Steelers


Former Steelers Offensive Coordinator Bruce Arians Says Retirement Came After New Contract Wasn’t Offered

*** Discuss this article and more at our Pittsburgh Steelers forum ***

Steelers former offensive coordinator Bruce Arians' retirement wasn't exactly seen as legitimate.

In his first comments since he parted ways with the Steelers last week, he suggested retirement was his decision, but only after the Steelers informed him he would not be receiving a contract offer.

Arians says all of this in an interview with Frank Bodani of the York Daily Record.

According to Bodani:

Arians put it this way: While he maintains he had considered retiring before, "when I wasn't offered a contract, it was an easy decision for me."

The Steelers simply did not want him to return for a sixth season running the offense.

And Rooney didn't give him a reason why.

"I can't answer that question. Only the people there can. That's the business. I know the job we did as a staff. I don't have any regrets."

Certainly, readers and participants of this site could give Arians a few reasons why the Steelers may not want to bring him back. It seems strange Arians needs one, though. Art Rooney II made it clear after the 2009 season, he wanted the team to return to a stronger emphasis on the running game. In 2010, the Steelers moved up to 11th in the league in rushing yardage, from 19th in 2009. They finished 14th this season, and averaged 4.4 yards per carry.

Struggles in the red zone accentuated more of the Steelers' problems on the offensive side of the ball. They averaged 20.3 yards per game, more than just one other playoff team - Denver, the team that beat them 29-23 in the playoffs.

Arians threw some compliments at head coach Mike Tomlin, so it seems Tomlin isn't one of the three people he's mentioning. Likely, he's referring to Steelers chairman emeritus Dan Rooney, Steelers president Art Rooney II and general manager Kevin Colbert.

That probably also means Tomlin won't be "one of the three" selecting Arians' replacement. No word has been reported on who that candidate will be.

The interview went on to discuss Arians relationship with Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger, whom Arians said was "upset" with the Steelers' decision to not bring Arians back.

Perhaps the most poignant statement Arians made is that he was contacted about "five or six" coaching jobs since he left the Steelers, but only one of them, apparently, was intriguing.

Maybe a team in the Lingerie League wanted a pass-first coach to direct a team to move the ball inside the 20s.



Source: Behind the Steel Curtain

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Video: Ravens Fans React to Their Loss to the Patriots

For those that need some good stuff to get through a Monday, watch as this Raven fan goes bonkers after Billy Cundiff blows a tying field goal. (NOTE: LANGUAGE NOT APPROVED FOR WORK OR CHILDREN!!!)

And there’s good news, as I think we found Thomas Crowley and what he was like after the kick:

Source: Steelers Gab


Arians Speaks Out – Still Not Sure Why He’s Not Coming Back in 2012

*** Discuss this article and more at our Pittsburgh Steelers forum ***

Finally after a few head scratching days, Bruce Arians is speaking out about exactly what happened between he and the Steelers that lead to him no longer being the offensive coordinator.

Sort of.

Whatever the case, it clearly doesn’t sound like Arians has “retired,” as it’s being reported he’s already looking to continue his coaching career, speaking to other teams.

Frank Bodani of the York Daily Record caught up with Arians, and he says Art Rooney II didn’t give the OC a reason why he wasn’t coming back to the team in 2012. “I can’t answer that question. Only the people there can. That’s the business. I know the job we did as a staff. I don’t have any regrets.”

So how is Arians’ good pal Ben Roethlisberger dealing with the change? Sounds like he’s not too happy, but he will deal with it and move on.

“He’s not happy, but that’s part of the business,” Arians said. “He is happy for me. He lives around the corner and we’ll still see each other a lot. The phone is always there when he needs me.”

Arians also seemed close to head coach Mike Tomlin.

“My door is always open to him. I respect him a ton,” Arians said. “I enjoyed our relationship and learned a lot. It was great watching him grow and working with him.”

“I can’t answer that question. Only the people there can. That’s the business. I know the job we did as a staff. I don’t have any regrets.”

Source: Steelers Gab

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Arians doesn’t know why Steelers let him go, says Ben is unhappy

Former Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians has confirmed that the “retirement” the team announced last week was actually a departure forced by the team. And he says Ben Roethlisberger is not pleased. Arians says Steelers owner Art Rooney II didn’t offer him a contract for the 2012 season and wouldn’t tell him why. “I can’t…

Source: ProFootballTalk » Pittsburgh Steelers

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Super Bowl News: The Aftermath of the Conference Championships

Photo

The dust clouds (or in the case of Ravens fans, the fury) have settled a bit from two nail-biters in the conference championships and we begin to look ahead to one of the lesser-reported aspects of the Super Bowl; the game itself.

Amid all the overdone storylines we're bound to read ad naseum (did you know the Giants and Patriots played in a recent Super Bowl? Welcome back to relevancy, David Tyree. Can we please get Rodney Harrison to weigh in on how he got beat on that play?), writers around SB Nation are pointing out some interesting details on how the Super Bowl participants made it to the big game.

Ed Valentine of Big Blue View points out three reasons why the Giants defeated the 49ers. Here's a hint, it wasn't because of their pass protection.

He does point out the special teams advantage the Giants had, though. Two Kyle Williams fumbles turned into 10 points, and in a 20-17 game, it can't get much bigger than that.

Along with excellent punting from Sam Weatherford, the Giants were able to use the same elements San Francisco used all season to defeat a team that gave QB Eli Manning the most savage beating of his life. Special teams are, as always, a winning edge.

Over on Pats Pulpit, Greg Knopping highlights the play of LB Brandon Spikes, and how he went from the ground to the stratosphere in just two plays.

Spikes was crushed by Ravens fullback Vonta Leach, resulting in a big gain for RB Ray Rice. Spikes dropped into coverage on the next play, and QB Joe Flacco didn't see him underneath the receiver. Spikes got what should have been an enormous interception that could have sealed the game in the fourth quarter.

No one was talking about how elite Flacco was after that throw (or another one from the second quarter, as Bill Barnwell points out in a phenomenal piece about both games), but Patriots QB Tom Brady gave it right back on the next play, in what could be the dumbest decision he's made in his career.

Neither quarterback played well, and anyone saying Flacco was anything more than hit-and-miss is in denial. Sure, Lee Evans should have held onto that ball as if his life hung in the balance, but missed tackles, not great passing, got them in position for the game-tying field goal. What about the two throws Flacco made way late to a wide open Torrey Smith in the first half? Obviously, there's the interception, but what about his last pass of the game, the one he tried to cram in a window smaller than the space between his eyebrows that should have been intercepted?

Neither the Patriots nor the Ravens took advantage of opportunities to win the game. They both chose to let the other team lose it. And the Ravens did.

It's certainly fair to hold K Billy Cundiff responsible. An overlooked aspect of the Patriots run to the Super Bowl is K Stephen Gostkowski. He's 4-for-4 on field goals this post-season, and while his longest is 35 yards, Cundiff would probably kill to be perfect from that range today.

Danny Woodhead had a critical fumble against Baltimore, and rest assured, the Giants will be going for the ball the same way they did against Williams. As it is with any big game, possessions will most likely determine the outcome. Both teams were in the top 10 in takeaways in the 2011 regular season, and when you have a quarterback who can convert those extra possessions into points, it's not a surprise when you make it to the Super Bowl.



Source: Behind the Steel Curtain


Referee Tony Corrente keeps working while battling cancer

Several of you asked via the live chat during Saturday night’s Lions-Saints game about the health of referee Tony Corrente, based on the fact that his hair was gone. As Peter King of Sports Illustrated explains it, Corrente has been battling throat and tongue cancer. Corrente, 60, attributes his diagnosis to a Week One brawl…

Source: ProFootballTalk » Pittsburgh Steelers


1979 and 2012: Two Different but Similar Years of Transition for one Fan and his Beloved Steelers

*** Discuss this article and more at our Pittsburgh Steelers forum ***

Pre-script: Given that most of the posts and articles now appearing on BTSC deal with either draft analysis, the remaining playoff games, or rants-and-raves against one aspect or another of the Steeler front office, coaching staff or roster, I thought I would offer something of an allegorical nature.

The Steelers are out of the playoffs and discussions and speculation have only just begun on what is seen by many as a major transitional year for the Steelers. The core of accomplished veterans who have helped make the Steelers one of the dominant teams of the 2000's finds it members nearing the ends of their illustrious careers, and questions over the competency of an offensive coordinator takes on increased rancor.

Like most of Steeler Nation, I find my January weekends bereft of meaningful football, and the only reason now to anticipate February is that it is one month closer to Spring. With so much unexpected free time on my hands, and with two of my boys graduating high school this year, I find myself reminiscing as I work with them on their applications to college. I look at them and remember what I was like at a similar stage in my life, which happened to coincide with the original Steeler Dynasty's final Super Bowl run and more specifically, the Steelers / Oilers AFC Championship game that I attended at Three Rivers Stadium on January 6, 1980.

The 1979 season began with the Steelers as the reigning Super Bowl champions, being the first team to ever win 3 Super Bowls, having defeated the Dallas Cowboys 35-31 in what many still consider one of the best Super Bowls ever played.

The first game was a narrow 16-13 victory over the New England Patriots, followed by a statement-making 38-7 victory at home against the Houston Oilers. The next three games against the St. Louis Cardinals, Baltimore Colts and Philadelphia Eagles were all decided by three points, with the Steelers winning two out of the three, their first loss of the season occurring in Philadelphia. The 4-1 Steelers then traveled to Cleveland where they got into a high scoring contest with the Browns, ultimately prevailing 51-35 after leading the Browns 21-0 in the first quarter. An apparently exhausted team then lost its second game of the season, falling to the Bengals 34-10, managing to score its sole touchdown in the fourth quarter. The Steelers would win their next 4 games by an average of 26 points, including a Monday Night game against the Denver Broncos which the Steelers won 42-7. Now 9-2, the Steelers proceeded to lose to the San Diego Chargers by a score of 35-7, and then barely hold off the Browns in their second game of that series, 33-30. From there, the Steelers finished out the season with only one additional loss, to the Oilers in Week 15, ending the season with a shut-out of the Buffalo Bills, 28-0.

At 12-4, the Steelers once again finished atop their division, winning it for the sixth year in a row, and for the seventh time in the decade of the 70's. There were 10 Pro Bowlers on the 1979 Steelers, with six players being voted AP All-Pro (this was back when both designations actually meant something). The AFC Championship game was to be a grudge match, the Oilers having been denied a trip to the Super Bowl in 1978 by the same Steelers, leading Head Coach Bum Phillips to complain that "...the road to the Super Bowl goes through Pittsburgh". The Oilers were also talented, with Earl Campbell the NFL rushing leader, Offensive Player of the Year, and NFL MVP. Mike Reinfeldt led the league in interceptions, with 12 picks.

My mom gave me two tickets to the game as an early high school graduation present. I invited my friend, Sheep to go with me. His real name was Ray, but with a head full of naturally blondish white hair the texture of lamb's wool, it was an obvious nickname. Sheep was two years ahead of me in high school and one of the most gifted athletes I've ever known, lettering in baseball, basketball and football; an example of his athletic prowess was once, on a dare, after he had a full day of football practice, and while still in full uniform, pads and helmet, he raced our cross-country team over the entire 3.2 mile course, and handily beat every one of us, including our all-county runners.

I met Sheep in 1978 at the local steakhouse, where we both worked on the grill line. It became a routine for us to agree to work Saturday mornings in exchange for Friday night's off, so the two of us could buy a case of beer, a bottle of schnapps, and a pint of cheap brandy, and I would drive us all over Beaver County to high school football or basketball games to watch the teams Sheep had played against two years before. Initially the friendship was based upon the fact that I had a car; as gifted an athlete as he was, inexplicably, Sheep could not handle driving. However, over time he and I became friends, sharing an enjoyment of sports, hell-raising, and a mutual desire to see the world.

Sheep was not ambitious; he was content to find work where he could, like the majority of Pittsburghers in 1979, clinging to the same hopes of generations past that there would always be work available for an honest man not afraid to get his hands dirty. He wanted to travel, but wasn't concerned over material things; he toyed with the common avenue of escape, the military, but he didn't think he would react well to military authority. Sheep wasn't interested in school, his presence in a class room occurred only because his coaches forced him to be there. But he was a gentle soul, who surprisingly knew more about the world beyond Pittsburgh than one would suspect from someone who was never seen with a book in his hand.

We got to Three Rivers just in time for the kick-off. The temperature was barely in the low 20's, with a light but steady wind. In our seats at the very top of Three Rivers, the wind chill was bitter. I don't remember much of the game, as we were well supplied with toddies from several leather flasks full of hot apple cider and Jack Daniels we had snuck in under our coats, as well as drinks traded for with the other screaming, Terrible Towel waving lunatics perched so high above the field with us. The one thing I do remember clearly was the disputed non-touchdown catch of Mike Renfro; our seats were directly in line with the corner of the end zone where that infamous play took place. We were sure, as Steeler fans, that Renfro had stepped out of bounds; review of the game film afterwards reveled a blown call, but by then it was too late as the Steelers had won 27-13, and were on their way to what was to become their record fourth Super Bowl title in six years.

In the 1980 season, the Steelers finished third in their division with a 9-7 record, two games out of contention for a wild card spot. 1981 was worse; although finishing second in their division, at 8-8 they were again two games out of contention for a wild card spot. From 1982, a strike shortened season during which the Steelers managed to finish fourth, making the playoffs but losing in the first round to the San Diego Chargers, through 1984 when they lost the AFC Championship game to the Miami Dolphins, the Steelers were still relevant, but only a shadow of what they once were. After 1984, the Steelers would have only one winning season until 1989, when they made it to the Divisional playoff game, losing to the Denver Broncos. Super Bowl XIV was to become the last one the Steelers would be in for fifteen long years.

The Dynasty of the 70's was aging. By 1983, three short year after winning it all, 16 of the original 24 starters from the 1979 championship team (including kicker and punter) had left the team, either to play elsewhere, or as Coach Chuck Noll would say: "to seek their life's work". Bradshaw, Harris, Blount, Swann and Ham were gone; half of the remaining original Steel Curtain, L.C. Greenwood and Joe Greene were gone, as were Kolb, Grossman, Anderson, Davis, Mullins and Bleier; over two thirds of the team that had participated in the last Super Bowl played, would no longer be part of the Steelers, and the core players who made up the "Team of the 70's", its heart and soul, were no more.

In the summer of 1980, I graduated high school with an acceptance letter from the University of Richmond in my pocket. It was the typical summer before college, with me working as many hours as I could, hanging out with friends, trying to both hold on to what was familiar, and looking forward to starting the next stage of my life with excitement, and a little trepidation. Sheep and I hung out regularly, but there was a discernible change in our friendship; no longer was I just a drinking buddy, but someone that he could live vicariously through, not just my impending college life, but how the world looked through the eyes of someone getting out of the Pittsburgh area. Sheep was more aware of what was going to happen to our friendship than I was; he knew that once I left for school, I would never really ever come back, even if I did physically move back to the area. We talked about this, sometimes at length, and I sensed that he hoped I would maintain contact, and I naively assured him nothing would change, that I'd stay in touch and when back home on breaks, everything would be the same.

The Steelers had opened their season with wins against the Oilers and Colts, on their way to their ignominious 9-7 season. I became engrossed in college activities, sports, fraternities, and (somewhat) my education. Because I started school before the 1980 football season began, and being in Richmond, where the only football that got covered with detail involved either the Washington Redskins, or the Richmond Spiders, I never really got involved in the Steelers' progress , and lamentably I found other things to take their place as the team drifted further away from my awareness.

It was a weekend in September, I don't remember which one. Coming back from the dining hall, I found a note on my door from the Dean's office advising me to call home immediately. My mom answered the phone on the first ring, and informed me that Sheep had died. Apparently he was driving back from a Pirates game late at night with some friends, a week or so previous and lost control of his car on one of the many bridges surrounding Pittsburgh. His car flipped off the bridge, onto a roadway below. There were no survivors. She apologized for informing me too late for me to attend the funeral services, but she knew he was a good friend and called me as soon as she heard the news.

I spent the rest of that day under a tree by the lake in the center of campus, numb and not knowing what to feel. I naively thought I could always go home and nothing there would be changed; my folks would be there, and so would most of my friends. I was counting on the people from my old life remaining the same to provide me a basis of stability with which to help me handle all the changes I was undertaking. I understood that I was the one to leave them, that I wanted different things; I never considered that everything I counted on remaining the same, wouldn't.

I mourned Ray's passing alone that day, and would come to appreciate his prescience in how my life would change; my trips home from school became less that of the "return of the conquering hero" that I had imagined, to a more melancholy effort to forge new relationships with my old friends, for they had transitioned into stereotypical adulthood, getting married, having kids, maturing, while I was still in school, still partially sheltered from the real world of mortgages, unemployment, children. I would come to achieve the same things my friends had done, albeit several years later; I eventually too would became an adult. That gulf of time however, even more so than the geographical distance, forever separated us from what we had once been together.

The affect of time is also seen with today's Steelers. The 2012 Steelers face many crucial decisions, from potential coaching changes to hard choices about many of the men who have created a 21st century Steeler success story. The team has 11 unrestricted free agents like Gay, Madison, Cotchery and Moore, Starks and Essex, and another seven restricted free agents such as Wallace, Foster, Legursky, Lewis and Mundy. Then there are those players facing injury or age issues: Smith, (IR), Hoke (IR), Hampton injured in the Denver game, Mendenhall , injured in the final regular season game against Cleveland. Ward, Farrior, Foote, and Colon all facing questions about the level of play at which they can continue to perform, as age and physical wear and tear inexorably over take them. Decisions will have to be made on the basis of performance capabilities, salary cap issues, and, given the Rooney way, honor and respect for individuals who have embodied what it means to be a Pittsburgh Steeler.

The team that we suffered with during our unsuccessful attempts to get past the Patriots in the early 2000's grew and improved to become the team that carried us to Super Bowl victory in 2005, 2008, and, almost, in 2010, but now finds itself at a crossroads that we faced initially at the end of the 2010 season; we have a core of players who brought us this far - how many of them do we stick with, and who needs to move on to seek "their life's work"? What happened this past season indicates that the core has weakened, there are faults in the bedrock, that the mantle of responsibility needs to be passed on, and the next generation of Steelers is now called upon to uphold the tradition of success so admirably tended to by the previous ones, stemming back to that last great effort of the original Steeler Dynasty in 1979.

The 2012 PaVaSteeler family is facing major transitions as well. Soon, I will no longer have under my roof the little ones who used to race into my arms screaming with glee as I threw them as high as I could into the air, their eyes filled with trusting love that I will always be there on their return. Soon I'll have to watch these young men as they leave my arms again, this time walking away to their dorms and life away from my protection, my control, moving on to their "life's work", but hopefully turning back to give me one last smile, and I pray they will see in my eyes the same trusting love that they too, will always be there, that they will always return.



Source: Behind the Steel Curtain

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