Conflicting reports about Todd Haley's whereabouts have been swirling for the last 24 hours. A number of reports from around the league say the Steelers' offensive coordinator is happy in Pittsburgh and will politely decline the opportunity to interview with the Arizona Cardinals:
#Cardinals requested interview with Todd Haley. Source close to Haley: "He loves Steelers job. He's very happy. No interview with Cards."— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 9, 2013
Other reports from inside the Steelers organization say that Haley did indeed interview for the position today in Arizona:
Bouchette (@EdBouchette) January 9, 2013
Now the question becomes, who is right and who is wrong? Surely it's obvious that the most relied upon and trusted source in this situation would be team president Art Rooney. It's implied that he would be all knowing when it comes to anything Steelers, but Haley's agent doesn't think so:
From Jerome Stanley, Todd Haley's agent: "The report is wrong. I stand by my statement. Period. You can report that!" Saying no interview— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 9, 2013
Is it possible that Haley didn't tell his agent? It's highly unlikely that's the scenario in this situation. Jerome Stanley would handle all the communication and arrangements of his client's visit to Arizona, so he would be in the know of everything that was going on.
Stanley has one interest in mind as Haley's agent—he wants the best for his client, plain and simple. Maybe he was told by the Steelers offensive coordinator to keep quiet. It's possible that Haley didn't want anyone to know about the Cardinals job unless he was on the brink of being named head coach.
The speculation behind everything could be endless, so let's take a minute to focus on what we actually know. We know that the Bidwill family are big fans of Haley for numerous reasons. We know newly appointed general manager Steve Keim is a part of that love fest and was there during his tenure as offensive coordinator.
We also know that the Steelers have expressed great interest in bringing Haley back if he doesn't secure a head coaching job. Here's what Rooney told Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about the Steelers' offense before the mountain of quarterback injuries: "What we had was pretty good."
Later in the article, Rooney added that a second year in Haley's system should yield even more positive results. By season's end, Pittsburgh finished with the 21st-ranked offense in the NFL. Not awful considering the influx at the quarterback position with Ben Roethlisberger out.
However, things could have been better for Haley and company, especially on the ground. The Steelers rushing attack averaged a measly 96.1 yards per game and finished 28th in the league at 3.7 yards per carry. Responsibility falls on both the backfield and the offensive line for such a disappointing season.
Regardless, Haley's services are supposedly in high-demand from one NFL team. The fit in Arizona seems natural, and not only because of the strong relationship with its front office. Haley has shown the ability to make due with average talent at the quarterback position—something the Cardinals currently have right now.
In 2010, Matt Cassel threw for 3,116 yards and 27 touchdowns, a career high. Everyone thought Haley and Cassel were the perfect fit for one another, but lo and behold that relationship didn't even last a year after its highest point. In 2011, Haley was fired after Week 14. The Chiefs were 5-8 at that point.
It's possible that Haley could squeeze those same kinds of numbers out of Kevin Kolb, yet it's hard to tell if Kolb would be a good fit for his style of offense. Haley loves to air the ball out—he did it with both the Cardinals and the Steelers.
Based on all the background information we have and the reports confirming he interviewed from Mr. Rooney, it's safe to say the answer is pretty clear. Arizona Cardinals fans now have the opportunity to rejoice over the fact he is indeed an option at head coach, or not.
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