Mike Tomlin Was the Reason for the Todd Haley Signing: Good or Bad?

Brendan O'HareContributor IFebruary 17, 2012

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 11:  Kansas City Chiefs head coach Todd Haley stands on the sidelines during a game against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium on December 11, 2011 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

Steelers owner Art Rooney II came out and said an odd thing yesterday afternoon, regarding the hiring of new offensive coordinator Todd Haley:

"Mike (Tomlin) identified a number of candidates that he wanted to talk to and did all of the initial discussions. We talked about who he was talking to. Kevin (Cobert, the general manager) and I talked to him, and he sort of kept us in the loop as to who he was thinking about."

It is taken from the Rooney statements that head coach Mike Tomlin was the one who had the definitive say in the hiring, rather than Rooney or Colbert. So, if the Haley hiring blows up in Pittsburgh's faces the way it did in say, Kansas City, Tomlin will be the one to blame for all the ensuing fire and explosions. There's a good and a bad to all this.

It's definitely a good thing to have a head coach specifically want a coordinator because that generally means they share the same ideals. One could sense the lack of connection between Tomlin and the previous offensive coordinator, Bruce Arians, because it seemed at times like Arians was intentionally trying to sabotage the offense. Hopefully, that's something Haley won't be intent on doing.

The bad is the potential backlash if this whole thing doesn't work. Tomlin will be the one being blamed and, if the Steelers are doing poorly, that means he will be taking shots from all angles. He's opening himself up for criticism with this move, which is why he's playing with proverbial fire (and Todd Haley has proven himself to be BURNING HOT).

The other thing that worries me is the fact that Jim Caldwell was Mike Tomlin's only other choice for offensive coordinator and Caldwell is someone who would likely be too conservative to be in the GOP primaries (topical humor right there). Tomlin's search for a new offensive coordinator didn't seem too expansive, which is troublesome. By being so narrow in his picks, is it possible he just relegated himself to the lesser of two evils?

It's interesting for Tomlin to have that much pull in the Steelers front office and is a sign of the respect they give him. But if the Haley experiment doesn't pan out, well, he might lose that.

Follow Brendan on Twitter: @brendohare