Pittsburgh Steelers Should Fire Bruce Arians: The Numbers Don't Lie

Lee HeislerCorrespondent IJanuary 4, 2010

PITTSBURGH - 2009:  Bruce Arians of the Pittsburgh Steelers poses for his 2009 NFL headshot at photo day in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by NFL Photos)
NFL Photos/Getty Images

For three seasons now, I've pleaded my case to anyone that would listen: fire Bruce Arians. And now I'm going to do so one last time.

The people that support Bruce Arians are going to point to several reasons why he should not be fired such as:

He was the offensive coordinator in 2008 when the Steelers won the Super Bowl.

Ben Roethisberger likes him.

In 2009 his offense had a quarterback throw for over 4,000 yards, two recievers go over 1,000 yards recieving, and a running back have over 1,000 yards rushing.

I can state my opinions, as I often have, about how Arians' offense is very predictable and unbalanced. Or about how I feel that he doesn't maximize his players' strengths. Or about how he doesn't make adjustments. Or about how subborn he is about certain plays such as the empty backfield set.

But instead, I'll respond to the three most common defenses for Bruce Arians that I have listed above to show you why Bruce Arians should be fired.

In response to those who say that Arians was the offensive coordinator of a Super Bowl winning team:

You are correct, he was the coordinator, but the Steelers won in spite of Arians, not because of him.

First of all, the offense was very inconsistent throughout the season.

Secondly, the times that the Steelers went to the no-huddle and allowed Ben Roethlisberger to call the plays was when the offense was the most successful. Much more successful than when Arians called the plays.

Finally, the defense carried the 2008 Steelers to the Super Bowl. Look at the stats.  Or you could look at the game against the Cowboys where the defense pretty much won the game by themselves.

Now, for those who say that the Steelers should keep Arians because Ben Roethlisberger likes him.

Of course Ben Roethlisberger is going to like him, name a quarterback that wouldn't like an offensive coordinator that allows him to throw the ball over 60 percent of the time.

But by Arians doing so, he is also cutting Roethlisberger's career short.

Yes, Roethlisberger holds the ball and will take several sacks, but Arians insistence on using the empty backfield set and becoming pass happy is increasing the number of times that Roethlisberger gets hit and sacked.

Let's compare the two seasons in which Ben Roethlisberger led the Steelers to the Super Bowl.

In 2005, Ben Roethlisberger was sacked 23 times.

In 2008, Ben Roethlisberger was sacked 46 times.

Granted, the Steelers pass more now so the sacks will go up, but that is Arians' decision.

And, yes, the Steelers offensive line was better in 2005, but a good offensive coordinator puts his players in positions to succeed. So maybe he should realize that pass blocking isn't the strength of this offensive line.

And in true Bruce Arians fashion, people are going to point to certain stats such as the 4,000 yard passer, two wideouts going over 1,000 yards, along with a 1,000 yard running back in 2009.

Well, take a look at these stats.

In 2009 the Steelers ranked 21st in the NFL by scoring touchdowns in the redzone  only 48.2 percent of the time. Behind teams such as Washington, Tampa Bay, Jacksonville, Kansas City, and Carolina.

In 2009 the Steelers ranked 22nd in the NFL in rushing yards per game while averaging 22.5 points per game.

In 2008 the Steelers ranked 23rd in the NFL in rushing yards per game while averaging 21.7 points per game.

In 2007 the Steelers ranked third in the NFL in rushing yards per game while averaging 24.6 yards per game.

Bruce Arians claims that his "pass-first" offense puts points on the board.  But in looking at the stats from the three seasons that he has been the Steelers offensive coordinator it shows that in the one season that Arians was committed to the run was the one in which the Steelers averaged the most points.

And looking back at stats since Ben Roethlisberger came into the NFL the Steelers offense has been the most successful when they are a run first team.

In 2004, the Steelers ranked second in rushing yards and averaged 23.2 points per game.

In 2005, the Steelers ranked fifth in rushing yards and averaged 24.3 points per game.

In 2006, the Steelers ranked 10th in rushing yards and averaged 22.1 points per game.

In 2007, the Steelers ranked third in rushing yards and averaged 24.6 points per game.

In 2008, the Steelers ranked 23rd in rushing yards and averaged 21.7 points per game.

In 2009, the Steelers ranked 22nd in rushing yards and averaged 22.5 points per game.

The numbers show that when the Steelers run the ball well, they score more points. 

Now let's look back at the numbers from Arians' only other time as offensive coordinator with the Cleveland Browns:

2001 Browns: 17.8 points per game, 31st in total offense, 31st in rushing offense, and 28th in passing offense.

2002 Browns: 21.5 points per game, 23rd in total offense, 23rd in rushing offense, and 18th in passing offense.

2003 Browns: 15.9 points per game, 26th in total offense, 20th in rushing offense, and 25th in passing offense.

Those numbers are not very impressive to me.

So while Bruce Arians loves his "pass-first" offense and his 4,000 yard passer and such, he needs to realize that as an offense there is only one stat that matters:

Points scored.

The numbers don't don't lie, Bruce Arians.  So it's time to take your pass-happy offense and hit the road.