Considering the Cause of Mike Tomlin's Decision To Keep Bruce Arians

Timothy KesslerAnalyst IJanuary 14, 2010

Deductive Reasoning 101

When trying to figure out the possibility of something having happened, it is smart to look at things with an open mind, eliminating any bias in your own opinion first and foremost. 


Look at all the facts in the scenario before assuming anything.


For instance, a person suggests that the Rooney family made the decision for coach Mike Tomlin to keep offensive coordinator Bruce Arians in an attempt to make their quarterback Ben Roethlisberger happy.


The fact in that statement is that Mike Tomlin kept Bruce Arians as the Steelers offensive coordinator. The result is that Ben Roethlisberger was made happy. And the assumption is that the Rooney family ultimately made the decision.


The assumption is where we will begin...


With an open mind and no biases, look to the past and try to see if the assumption is likely or unlikely.


The Rooneys are an extremely well known family who are professional in every aspect of their lives. They have always allowed their coaches to make important team decisions as well as whom they want as assistant coaches.


History suggests that this assumption is more than likely wrong.


So, what next? It is still not a proven fact, nor will it ever be set in stone, but there is a way of improving the probability that the Rooneys did not force the decision.


It’s sometimes beneficial to look at things as if the opposite has occurred to get a better understanding of what actually did.


Let us pretend Mike Tomlin fired Bruce Arians and examine the difference in the result...


Would Ben be happy with the decision? More than likely he would not be too thrilled. So the result has changed, but how much and to what end?


Would he be suicidal? Certainly not. Do you think that Ben would retire? No way. Do you think that Ben would tank games in protest? Doubtful.  


Ben Roethlisberger is a professional football player getting paid millions of dollars to play a game that he loves. 


Over time Ben would get over it. He would not risk his future place in the Hall of Fame for a decision that he will likely face several times over his career.


How about the Rooney family? Would they have fired Mike Tomlin had he fired Bruce Arians?


I think the answer is quite obvious: no way. 


So with the results of Tomlin choosing to fire Arians barely making much of a difference, it now becomes safe to assume that the decision Tomlin made to keep him was not forced on him.


Another mistake people made was assuming that since information was leaked about Arians, stating that he would be fired only three days before it was confirmed he would be kept, that somebody must have played a part in changing Tomlin's mind.


The problem is that those people assumed the leaked information was correct, when more than likely it was false information from the very beginning, as it did turn out to be incorrect in the end.


With that information being false, Tomlin never had to change his mind and be convinced to keep Arians. Further solidifying the premise that Tomlin's mind was already made up and the decision was his own.


More than likely Tomlin realized that the Steelers have won many games with Arians, so why risk a losing season implementing a new offensive philosophy, which would ultimately hurt his standing as a good head coach?


He made a similar decision when he first took over the head-coaching job in deciding to stick with Dick Labeau and his 3-4 zone blitz defense, instead of switching to his more familiar Tampa 2. He realized that the defense already implemented was more than capable of getting the wins necessary to be successful.


If the past is a good indicator, we can see it is even more likely that Tomlin made the decision himself.


He knows that even with Arians the Steelers can easily win 10 or more games a year and make the playoffs. They almost made the playoffs this season despite all the problems they had, including the five-game losing streak.


Then consider the five loses by only three points. Had they went the Steelers' way, they could have had a 14-2 record. And let’s not forget that a year earlier, Arians did enough as offensive coordinator to help lead the Steelers to their record-breaking sixth title.


Tomlin may have thought someone else was better for the job, just as he may have thought the Tampa 2 was better than the 3-4, but was it worth the risk of a losing season or two implementing the new system?


In the end, Mike Tomlin made the decision that he felt was best for himself and the team. And that is why Tomlin decided to stick with Bruce Arians, plain and simple. No conspiracies.


That not only makes the most sense, it involves a lot less speculation. And it doesn't involve slandering respectable people.


The Rooneys would never threaten Tomlin's job to get the decision they wanted, nor would Roethlisberger intentionally play worse in an attempt to get even with his coach.


Those are certainly things that the Steelers as an organization are above.


In fact, I hope people can just move on and accept the fact that Bruce Arians will be with the team for at least one more season. Worse things have happened. And who knows, with the talent the Steelers have on offense, anything is possible.




It has now come to my attention that Mr. Rooney has made it known that he informed Tomlin, in their meeting before his decision, that he wanted the team to go back to more of a running style offense as in the past.

This puts an end to the debate of whether or not the Rooneys would have influenced Tomlin's decision on keeping Arians, for their main purpose of keeping Ben happy.

We now know that is NOT the case, as Ben liked the offense as it was, airing it out.

In fact, we also now know that the decision to keep Arians was surely Tomlin's, as he could've opted for more of a run oriented offensive coordinator.

Furthermore, that may explain the leaked information.

Maybe after hearing the Rooney's request, Tomlin's first instinct was to fire Arians, but after talking with Arians himself, he apparently changed his mind.

In the end, I'm sure Tomlin figured that Arians could be that guy- as he was successful at running the ball in 2007.

The one thing that is absolutley for certain is the Rooney's main focus was NOT to simply keep Ben happy. Their main concern was for the welfare of the entire team, which i have been saying from the very beginning.  


You see, not everything has to be a scandal.


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