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hawaiiansteel
02-05-2011, 07:22 PM
Bruce Arians Went Against Grain to Get Steelers to Super Bowl

By Pat McManamon
Senior Writer

http://www.blogcdn.com/nfl.fanhouse.com/media/2011/02/020411-arians-307.jpg

DALLAS -- Certain situations tell a lot about a team, a coach, an assistant coach.

So it was with the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC championship game when Mike Tomlin and offensive coordinator Bruce Arians were faced with a choice. The Steelers had seen a 24-0 lead dissipate to 24-19, and the New York Jets had only to stop the Steelers in the final three minutes to get a chance to advance to the Super Bowl.

Pittsburgh made a bold choice. The results propelled the Steelers to an appearance in Super Bowl XLV on Sunday against the Green Bay Packers.

In the Championship Game, Pittsburgh took over at its 41-yard-line with 3:06 left. New York had all three of its timeouts, and all the momentum. In the patterned and predictable world of the NFL, a team in that position runs the ball three times, punts and takes its chances on defense.

But not Arians.

This is a coordinator who in Cleveland on fourth-and-goal from the 3 called for a wide receiver reverse. A coordinator who played Pittsburgh in the playoffs with Kelly Holcomb at quarterback and called so many passes that Holcomb threw for 400 yards. A coordinator at that game who was caught by NFL Films pointing at the receivers saying: "We are going to attack their ass the whole game."

On the sidelines, Arians walked up to Mike Tomlin and asked what he wanted to do.

"Call your game, BA," Tomlin told him.

This either is the ultimate support for a coordinator, or a coach testing his coordinator. Arians had been criticized in Pittsburgh for being too pass-happy, and his job had security had not been the best when the Steelers failed to reach the playoffs last season. Call your game.

So Arians passed. Twice. In the NFL passing twice with a berth in the Super Bowl at stake is akin to asking the Statue of Liberty to swim the English Channel. It just does not happen.

- Bruce Arians "When I looked (Tomlin) in the eye (and) said, 'Coach, what do you want to do?' ... He said, 'Play to win,'" Arians said. "I said that means throwing. He said play to win."

So Arians called one run, then a play-action pass that resulted in a first-down throw from Ben Roethlisberger to Heath Miller.

"It's hard to run the ball in that situation," Arians said. "You run it on first down, you get a few. The play-action is set up and ready to go."

Not everyone would do it, but not every coach has the same relationship with his quarterback that Arians has with Roethlisberger. When Arians was hired, one of the first things he did was turn more control of the offense over to Roethlisberger. He let him change more plays, and run more no-huddle.

When Roethlisberger had his off-field troubles in Milledgeville, Ga., Arians was one of his staunchest supporters. Arians did not appreciate what happened in that bar, but he did support his quarterback as a friend. And Roethlisberger was grateful.

Arians thus has an enormous amount of faith in Roethlisberger. He points out that when it matters most, when the game is on the line, he will depend on his quarterback.

"I wouldn't trade him for Peyton, Tom or Drew today," Arians said, referring to Manning, Brady and Brees.

Why? Because Arians believes when the game is on the line, Roethlisberger will come through.

"When he played we're the second-best third down team in the league," Arians said. "The highest fourth-quarter rating in the league. That's comebacks and not beating yourself in the fourth quarter. Stats do tell the story sometimes. His touchdown-to-interception ratio, all the things that he's done, are as good or better than those guys.

"Will he go to the Pro Bowl every year? No. Because he won't throw for 4,000 yards, or 5,000 yards. We're Pittsburgh and that doesn't happen. That's the team he's on. He leads his team as well as a lot of people lead theirs."

So when the game was on the line in the AFC championship game, Arians put the responsibility on Roethlisberger. And he came through with the pass to Miller.

"Without that trust," Arians said, "you're going to run-run punt and let the defense win the game. That's not our job. Our job is to kneel down at the end and put the thing on ice. And if you trust your quarterback then it's not a problem."

The Jets used timeouts after each of the first two plays, and Pittsburgh wanted the Jets to burn their final one, so they ran the ball on first down. New York called timeout. A second-down run led to the two-minute warning. There, the conventional thinking would have been to run again. But that would have given New York the ball with about a minute left -- enough time to score even with no timeouts.

A pass could work, but a pass also brings to mind the old Woody Hayes axiom: If you throw, three things can happen and two are bad. A pass could be intercepted, or it could be incomplete, which would stop the clock and give the Jets another 45 seconds to try to win.

"Mike and I had talked about the scenario, whether it be in overtime or a critical third down at the end of a ballgame, what play do you want to run?" Arians said.

The normal pass would have been a sprint-out, except that would also be the Jets normal play.

"As Mike said to me, they're kind of used to seeing that against themselves (in practice)," Arians said.

So the other option would be to spread out the defense and go with five wide receivers, meaning Pittsburgh would not have a back and would indicate it was going to throw. The primary receiver on the play was Hines Ward.

"If they blitz us we have a good hot (read), and if not Ben will make a play," Arians said. "When we called it I said if Hines isn't there take off running. He did."

Arians fully expected Roethlisberger to keep running, which at the least would have kept the clock running. But at the last second Roethlisberger saw rookie Antonio Brown coming across the field. He threw to him, but low, and Brown -- a late-round draft pick from the Mid-American Conference -- went down and snagged the ball.

"He makes one of the great plays in the season," Arians said. "It all goes back to the trust factor."

Had the pass been incomplete ...

"I'm an idiot anyway," Arians said with a laugh. They're gonna say that anyway. You've known that for 10 years. Ain't going to change. I don't worry about that."

The calls were bold, daring and risky, and both required the gumption to believe in your players and your approach. Many teams say they have that belief, but when the game is on the line they usually take the safe route. Pittsburgh did not, and because of it they -- and Roethlisberger -- will play for their third Lombardi Trophy in the last six years.

http://nfl.fanhouse.com/2011/02/04/bruc ... uper-bowl/ (http://nfl.fanhouse.com/2011/02/04/bruce-arians-went-against-grain-to-get-steelers-to-super-bowl/)

SteelTorch
02-05-2011, 07:45 PM
"I'm an idiot anyway," Arians said with a laugh.
Probably the first thing he's said that I agree with. :lol:

jj28west
02-05-2011, 08:34 PM
Probably mentioned a bunch of times but Brown gave them awesome field position that helped these calls.

SanAntonioSteelerFan
02-05-2011, 09:33 PM
A STEELER PRAYER ...

BA calls game of his life ... Raji and Mathews neutralized ... we win going away.

I am going to buy on on-line meditation book tonight. One of those things where you can control your own heart rate and breathing. "Ohhhmmmmmm".

hawaiiansteel
02-05-2011, 11:12 PM
Arians rewards faithful Steelers with redeeming season

By Clark Judge
CBSSports.com Senior Writer
Feb. 5, 2011


PITTSBURGH -- Super Bowl XLV might be about redemption, but it's not about Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. It's about his coach, offensive coordinator Bruce Arians.

What happens to Roethlisberger on Sunday doesn't determine his standing in the court of public opinion. You either like him or you don't, and I doubt Sunday's result will change that.

http://sports.cbsimg.net/u/photos/football/nfl/img14650427.jpg

Ben Roethlisberger has belief in Bruce Arians and the trust of the Steelers offensive coordinator. (Getty Images)

But Arians ... now he's a different story. A year ago he was so disliked that one media outlet in Pittsburgh had the guy about to be fired. But he wasn't, and now he's on the verge of sticking it to his critics with a second Super Bowl victory in three years.

So don't tell me this game doesn't mean something to Arians, because it should. He was the guy singled out for Pittsburgh's failure to reach the playoffs in 2009, and he was the guy coach Mike Tomlin -- acting on instructions from team president Art Rooney II -- felt compelled to sit down before this season, with Tomlin putting him on notice to make better use of young players and to get the offense to run the ball more effectively.

So Arians did, and look what happened: Rookie Antonio Brown, who made the two biggest catches the past two weeks, and the Steelers' running game basically decided the AFC Championship Game. That's a credit to the players involved -- with Roethlisberger at the head of the class -- but it's also a tribute to an assistant coach who deserves more attention than he has gotten.

I'm serious, and I use Pittsburgh's game-clinching series two weekends ago as proof. The Steelers had the ball with under two minutes left, looking to keep it from a Jets team that was out of timeouts. Faced with a third-and-6, the expectation was that Pittsburgh would play it safe and run to kill more clock, then lean on the league's best defense as its closer.

Only Pittsburgh didn't run. When Roethlisberger huddled with coaches on the sideline, he went over possible play calls before Tomlin stuck his head in and told Arians, "Call your game, B.A." Roethlisberger's face broke into a smile, and Arians did what he knew he had to do -- which was call a pass play, with Roethlisberger having the option to roll right or scramble.

So he rolled right, found Brown with a first-down pass and the Steelers' ticket to Dallas was punched.

"The play-action pass is set up and ready to go because you trust your quarterback," said Arians. "Without that trust, you were going to run, run, punt and let the defense go win the game. That's not our job. Our job is to kneel down at the end and put the thing on ice. If you trust your quarterback then it's not a problem. It's easy to call those plays."

Maybe. But it wasn't easy to call that one. Even Jets coach Rex Ryan was surprised, calling it a "gusty" move afterward, but Arians disagreed. He had a quarterback he trusted. He trusted him. And it worked, simple as that.

"I don't know who called that last series," said former Kansas City player personnel director Bill Kuharich, "but it was great. It kind of reminded me what Herman Edwards used to say: 'You play to win the game.' And that's what he did."

Afterward, Roethlisberger was congratulated for getting the Steelers to their third Super Bowl in six years, but he's not here without Arians making that call. Or countless others that preceded it.

Bruce Arians is proof that you don't have to change ... or change people ... to improve. The Steelers made it back to the Super Bowl one year after he was rumored to be gone, and tell me that doesn't make Sunday's game significant for at least one assistant coach.

"There really wasn't as much smoke or fire as everybody made it out to be," said Arians. "I don't let that stuff bother me. And, if it would, I'd just go get another job."

I think I speak for all Steelers fans when I say, hell, no, don't let him go.

http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/story/1465 ... ing-season (http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/story/14650428/arians-rewards-faithful-steelers-with-redeeming-season)

hawaiiansteel
02-06-2011, 01:39 AM
"I'm an idiot anyway," Arians said with a laugh.


ah, something we can agree on... :Cheers

skyhawk
02-06-2011, 02:22 AM
Arians rewards faithful Steelers with redeeming season



Maybe. But it wasn't easy to call that one. Even Jets coach Rex Ryan was surprised, calling it a "gusty" move afterward, but Arians disagreed. He had a quarterback he trusted. He trusted him. And it worked, simple as that.

"I don't know who called that last series," said former Kansas City player personnel director Bill Kuharich, "but it was great. It kind of reminded me what Herman Edwards used to say: 'You play to win the game.' And that's what he did."





http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/story/1465 ... ing-season (http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/story/14650428/arians-rewards-faithful-steelers-with-redeeming-season)

I didn't know they were having trouble with the wind that day. :lol:

DukieBoy
02-06-2011, 11:05 AM
Call a great game today, Bruce !!!
Give Ben the no-huddle and alot of audibles.



Play to WIN !!!
:tt1 :tt1 :tt1 :tt1 :tt1 :tt1 :tt1

feltdizz
02-06-2011, 11:10 AM
haters gonna hate....

I'm happy for Arians.. all the experts with nothing on the line bash the guy every week regardless of the outcome of the game.

He received a ton of hate that should have gone to the D last year IMO...

2 SB's in 3 years and people want him gone... what people fail to understand is regular season stats mean zilch once the playoffs start and when we make the playoffs our O gets the job done.

Oviedo
02-06-2011, 11:14 AM
haters gonna hate....

I'm happy for Arians.. all the experts with nothing on the line bash the guy every week regardless of the outcome of the game.

He received a ton of hate that should have gone to the D last year IMO...

2 SB's in 3 years and people want him gone... what people fail to understand is regular season stats mean zilch once the playoffs start and when we make the playoffs our O gets the job done.

Just think. As much as I think he should step aside and a get a fresh face in, Arians may earn himself a new contract and we can "look forward to" hundreds of more posts by "experts" about how bad an OC he is. Probably easier to just cut and paste the hate starting next week to save time :roll:

DukieBoy
02-06-2011, 11:17 AM
I'm an Arians fan today.
For what it is worth, Merril Hoge has had alot of praise for Bruce these past several weeks. Hoge has a great amount of knowledge and credibility.


:tt1 :tt1 :tt1 :tt1 :tt1 :tt1 :tt1

Oviedo
02-06-2011, 11:26 AM
I'm an Arians fan today.
For what it is worth, Merril Hoge has had alot of praise for Bruce these past several weeks. Hoge has a great amount of knowledge and credibility.


:tt1 :tt1 :tt1 :tt1 :tt1 :tt1 :tt1

Arians is a good, but not great, OC. The hate he gets is ridiculous. People who really know football are constantly praising what he has done with the offense.

Like I said. I think it is time to get some fresh blood and ideas in but I won't ever bash Arians.

Djfan
02-06-2011, 11:31 AM
I'm an Arians fan today.
For what it is worth, Merril Hoge has had alot of praise for Bruce these past several weeks. Hoge has a great amount of knowledge and credibility.


:tt1 :tt1 :tt1 :tt1 :tt1 :tt1 :tt1


I have a lot of praise for him lately. Something happened with about four weeks left in the season, and I like what I see from him.

Keep it up, and I'm a BA fan.

feltdizz
02-06-2011, 11:39 AM
Arians is a game manager :lol:

Discipline of Steel
02-06-2011, 05:14 PM
I thought he was a janitorial intern! In any case, im his fan today!!!

skyhawk
02-07-2011, 06:37 PM
Are you all STILL BA fans now??

hawaiiansteel
02-08-2011, 06:22 PM
Steelers' Bruce Arians remembered at University of Alabama for one play

From The Tuscaloosa News
By Tommy Deas Executive Sports Editor on February 6, 2011


Around the National Football League, Bruce Arians is known as the coach who tutored a young Peyton Manning, as the offensive coordinator of the Pittsburgh Steelers and as a man who already has two Super Bowl rings.

Ask University of Alabama football fans of a certain age and you'll find they remember Arians for one play. More precisely, for one ill-fated play call.

The man who will be calling plays for the Steelers today in Super Bowl XLV was, a little more than 13 years ago, at the end of what would turn out to be a one-year tenure as offensive coordinator for the Crimson Tide.

And one of the last plays he ever called still resonates with UA supporters.

“I would say it's in the top five worst calls in Alabama history,” said Chris Hinkle, a 46-year-old Tide fan who resides in Madison, Miss. “Bad decision.”

The situation was this on the evening of Nov. 22, 1997, at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn: Alabama led its cross-state rival 17-15, facing third-and-eight from its own 36-yard line with the clock ticking down.

A hand-off up the middle would have resulted in Auburn calling its final timeout and, after a punt, getting the ball back on its side of the field with a little over half a minute to go.

Arians instead called a screen pass to fullback Ed Scissum, who hadn't caught a pass all year. He caught the ball and fumbled when he was hammered by an Auburn defender. The Tigers recovered with 42 seconds to go and kicked a field goal in the final moments for an 18-17 Iron Bowl win.

Arians wants you to know he'd do it all over, just the same way.

“I'd call that same play again,” he said.

Why?

“You play to kneel down, not to put your defense back out there.”

To Arians, it's as simple as that.

Two weeks ago, in fact, he called similar plays twice in the final minutes of the AFC Championship Game against the New York Jets, passing for first downs rather than trying to run down the clock on the ground.

Those passes allowed Pittsburgh to retain possession and advance to today's game against the Green Bay Packers.

The call against Auburn had a different result. Four days later, Arians was fired in the aftermath of a 4-7 record in Mike DuBose's first year as head coach.

Was it because of the call? You make the call: Shortly before the Auburn game, Arians had moved his family into a house on Lake Tuscaloosa after getting assurance from DuBose that his job was secure.

“I thought at the time I'd be in college coaching the rest of my career,” Arians said.

Instead, he moved on to his next coaching stop as quarterbacks coach with the Indianapolis Colts. His task was to mentor a rookie named Manning who would quickly embark on a path to all-time greatness.

“Of course, they plugged Peyton in (as a starter) from the day they drafted him,” said Archie Manning, the quarterback's father. “Bruce was great for Peyton when he first went in there.”

Archie Manning knows the game. He is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and passed for almost 24,000 yards in his 13-year NFL career. He knows Arians knows his stuff.

“Bruce really knows football, offensive football,” the elder Manning said. “Bruce was the guy who really worked day to day with Peyton, not only that adjustment to the NFL, but the mechanics, all the things.

“Bruce is an excellent quarterback coach. He's just a good football coach. He's been at Pittsburgh a long time and done a great job there.”

Those three years coaching Manning set Arians on his way to where he is now. He moved on to a three-year stint with the Cleveland Browns in his first gig as an NFL offensive coordinator. That job ended when embattled head coach Butch Davis fired him.

From there he landed at Pittsburgh, where Arians won his first Super Bowl ring in 2006 as receivers coach before being promoted to his current position in charge of the Steelers' offense. His second ring came two years ago, and he was calling the plays for Pittsburgh.

Looking at what has happened since, getting fired at Alabama might have been a blessing for Arians.

“I don't know if anything in this profession is ever fair,” Arians said. “Mike (DuBose) decided he wanted to go in a different direction. I have no hard feelings.”

Some, of course, still do. Mention Arians and Alabama supporters still remember only one thing.

“The ball should not leave the quarterback's hand in the air with you up two in that situation,” Hinkle said. “Why are you throwing a screen pass with 50 seconds left? I'm wondering why we're not running out the clock.”

Freddie Kitchens, the quarterback who threw the pass, remembers Arians as the coach who took him from throwing 14 touchdowns and 14 interceptions as a junior, under a different coordinator, to throwing the same number of touchdowns with just four interceptions in his senior season.

“Two of those interceptions were tipped balls,” Kitchens said, “and one was a Hail Mary.

“I finished my career with 100-plus consecutive passes without an interception. I'd have liked to have seen how many in a row I could have completed, but it was all over after that Auburn game.”

The credit, Kitchens said, goes to Arians.

“The biggest thing he did for me was the improvement of my decision-making,” Kitchens said. “He taught me so many things I hadn't been taught. I think he did his job well.”

And the call? Kitchens, now tight ends coach for the Arizona Cardinals of the NFL, says you don't know the whole story.

“If our guard had got out there and made the block he was supposed to make and the linebacker gets blocked, there's no fumble,” the quarterback said. “I think (Arians) got caught up in taking the blame.

“He made a decision to try to win the game. Who would have known we would have missed the block and we would have fumbled?”

Those who judge Arians by the call, Kitchens believes, need to look at what he has accomplished since.

And they need to get over it.

“I guess that's what he's known for,” Kitchens said. “I don't know what's wrong with throwing a screen on third-and-eight. They should be pissed off at the execution, not the call.

“You look at his longevity in this league and the success that he's had. He's definitely one of the best I've been around, and I know for a fact he's one of the best in this league.”

For his part, Arians doesn't look back at his time at Alabama with regret. His daughter and son-in-law both graduated from UA.

The call isn't something he dwells on, but Arians surely remembers it.

“That one play call doesn't dampen it at all,” he said. “We completed it. It's a shame we fumbled it.”

http://sports.ap.org/college-football/s ... f4c57f6809 (http://sports.ap.org/college-football/story?id=f6e1c125426a4a728190aaf4c57f6809)

feltdizz
02-08-2011, 07:14 PM
Arians is a master at calling plays that end with fumbles and INT's :roll: