Despite what you’ve read, Art Rooney insists he did not force his head coach’s hand. The Pittsburgh Steelers owner reportedly wanted the team’s offense to head in a new direction under Mike Tomlin, a move away from the pass-heavy offense of Bruce Arians, whose contract was not renewed, and back to the ground game the Steelers have a strong tradition with. Instead, Rooney said the hiring of Todd Haley, the team’s new offensive coordinator, was Tomlin’s call to make.
“I think the bottom line is, Mike was comfortable that’s who he wanted to come in,” Rooney told the Post-Gazette. “It may be fair to say that when he started the discussions and Todd’s name was on his original list, I don’t think he expected that Todd was the guy he was going to wind up hiring. But as he had more conversations with him, he became more comfortable that he was the right guy for the job.”
To clarify his position, he gave Ed Bouchette an interview to settle the rumors around Pittsburgh that he was that involved. Instead, he told the paper that Haley and former Colts head coach Jim Caldwell were the only candidates brought in. Arians, interestingly enough, is now the new offensive coordinator for the Indianapolis Colts.
Rooney went on to clarify his role in hiring Haley saying that while he had a conversation with the former Chiefs head coach, it was all on Tomlin just like usual.
“I wouldn’t want my role in it to be overestimated because Mike has to decide who he wants on the staff. Even though there’s always a discussion between me and Mike about who he’s hiring and how much we’re paying him and those kinds of things, it’s normally a discussion of the business side of the arrangement than, ‘Are we going to hire a guy who’s going to run the ball so many times a game.’ It was a fairly normal process as far as I’m concerned in terms of how we’ve done those kinds of hirings in the past.”