Why Did Art Rooney Hire Todd Haley?

Notice that the title of this article is not “Why did Mike Tomlin hire Todd Haley.” Tomlin didn’t. If this were Tomlin’s decision, Bruce Arians would still be in town. No, this decision appears to have been made by Art Rooney II.


Rooney has stated multiple times that he wants the Steelers to run the ball more. Bruce Arians probably cocked his head to the side, said “but we have a great quarterback and one of the most talented young groups on receivers in the league,” and then was shown the door.

Roethlisberger wanted to keep Arians. Tomlin wanted to keep Arians. Rooney is the one who wanted Arians gone, and he’s the one signing the paychecks, so he cna make that decision.

Which brings us to Todd Haley.

No one believes Mike Tomlin wanted Todd Haley. If he had to find a replacement for Arians, he would definitely have promoted from within. The players would have wanted it. The fact that they went outside the organization says that Art Rooney doesn’t trust the current coaching staff to handle the offense.

But why trust Todd Haley? If Rooney wants a better ground attack, don’t bring in a guy known for his prolific passing offenses. The Great Seth Rorabaugh of the Post Gazette broke down Haley’s offenses since 2007. He very heavily favors the pass, even in Kansas City where he didn’t have the talent Arizona had. [PG+]

Dejan Kovacevic broke down everything that doesn’t make sense about this hire in his Wednesday column. Don’t read it if you want to be assured that Todd Haley is a stable personality who will instantly fit in on Tomlin’s staff. Kovacevic raises the very unsettling question: How is Mike Tomlin not going to hate this guy? Haley is hotheaded, animated, and notably vulgar.

Even worse, compare Todd Haley and Dick LeBeau. They’ll be going against each other in practice. LeBeau is known as “Coach Dad.” Haley clashes with his star players often enough that one might see him as “Coach Dad with an alcohol problem.” LeBeau has probably never uttered a curse word in his life. The top million Google Image results for Todd Haley are gifs of him swearing at players, coaches, and referees (and one of him being punched by Bill Parcells!)

There are enough positives to look at in the hiring of Haley. Maybe he’ll see the talent we have in the passing game and, like Arians, ignore Rooney’s meatheaded demand to run the ball more. Maybe he’ll develop a good relationship with his players and fellow coaches. It isn’t impossible.

Above all, maybe he’ll have success and even win a championship in Pittsburgh. If he guides a championship-caliber offense to a Superbowl win at any point, everyone’s fears will be put to rest.

I mean, it’s not like Bruce Arians ever could have done that, right?

Brian Schaich

About Brian Schaich

Brian studied computer engineering long enough to know he just wanted to talk about sports all day for a living, so that's what he does.

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