Despite all the speculation surrounding the release of Bruce Arians from his duties as offensive coordinator for the Pittsburgh Steelers, it has not come to pass. He will finish out the final season of his four-year contract.
With his being kept on staff, more speculation has since come to surface.
One debate centers around who really runs the show in Pittsburgh.
-Did Mike Tomlin keep Arians simply to pad his own stats, as a way to avoid an offensive rebuilding season and a possible losing record?
-Did the Rooneys make Tomlin keep Arians on, as a way to keep Ben Roethlisberger happy?
-Did Roethlisberger's very own influence possibly sway Tomlin's decision?
Or, quite simply...
-Did Tomlin make the decision on his own because he truly felt it was the best thing for the team?
Many questions have come to pass, and not a single person can answer any of them except Tomlin himself. But don't expect anything more than a "run of the mill" answer from him, such as..."I had the team's best interest at heart and feel we have a lot to build on."
One thing is for sure.
The Rooney family did not force the decision on Tomlin. To even suggest that they would take that decision out of the hands of the man in whom they entrusted to make it, just to help pad the stats of their quarterback and keep him happy, is simply ludicrous.
To suggest the Rooneys would put any one player above the best interest of the entire team is even more ridiculous. They are way too professional for such things.
Is the name on the back of Roethlisberger's jersey becoming more important than the symbol on the front of it? I doubt it.
It is absolutely true that Ben Roethlisberger has benefited from Arians' presence and will continue to do so, as his records and stats this past season clearly show. So, was the multi-million-dollar man behind the saving of Arians' job?
We will probably never know for sure the extent of his involvement. But let’s hope, if Roethlisberger did play a part in it, that it was not for selfish reasons and that he had the team's best interest at heart.
Ultimately, Tomlin had the last word on whether or not to keep Arians. As for his reasons why...anybody's guess is as good as another.
James Harrison did say earlier in the year that "it seemed like some people on the team this year were more interested in personal goals."
Let's hope that this move was not a continuation of that selfishness and that things improve for this team in the future. These are not issues that normally affect the Steelers.
Pittsburgh has always been one of the top teams in the league as far as team unity is concerned—one of the last teams you'd expect to have problems in the locker room. Yet it was another area that reflected poorly on the coaching staff this season.
Whether Roethlisberger likes it or not, this team has to get back to fundamental football! It needs to establish a much better balance in its offensive attack in both passing and running, regardless of whether that affects Roethlisberger's statistics or not.
Hopefully that is exactly what Tomln explained to Arians in their meeting that ended with him remaining on as the team's offensive coordinator.
Let’s also hope all the second-guessing that seems to be going on within the team comes to an abrupt end, and that every player and coach comes to a better understanding with one another.
They can become the “team” that they once were. It's as simple as each of them looking within themselves and finding what it is about the game of football that made them love it to begin with. That’s when the magic happens.
The team that wins it all this season will be the team playing with the most heart, not with the best numbers or stats. That was proven last season when the Steelers won it all.
Too bad they don't have an opportunity to prove it this season.
And hopefully Tomlin's decision to keep Arians doesn't keep us from being able to prove it again come next season.