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mesaSteeler
02-07-2009, 10:08 PM
Arians enjoyed 'most gratifying year'
York's Bruce Arians ignored critics and helped the Steelers win the Super Bowl.
By FRANK BODANI
http://ydr.inyork.com/ci_11653206
Daily Record/Sunday News
Posted: 02/07/2009 05:51:05 PM EST

The most criticized man on the Super Bowl champs does his best to laugh it off.

Bruce Arians cracks a few jokes. He tries not to pay attention to the Web sites calling for his firing. Rationalizes those never-ending screaming, obnoxious fans with lines like, "It comes with the territory."

But it can't be easy when your Pittsburgh Steelers keep winning -- making the playoffs for the second-straight year, winning a Super Bowl for the second time in four seasons -- and a Web site called www.firebrucearians.com continues to attract supporters.

York County's Arians, the aggressive play-calling offensive coordinator known as "B.A." around his Steelers, deals with it and moves on.

"It's harder on your family," Arians said of the steady rush of complaining fans. "Your kids and your wife and your mom are sitting in the stands and they hear people holler, 'Arians!' you did this wrong or that wrong ... And (my family) says, 'Hey, that's my name, too.'"

Where does the venom come from?

Consider that the Steelers' offense actually struggled for much of the season because of a rebuilt line and a rash of running back injuries.

The traditionally run-first Steelers threw the ball more then ever and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger got sacked a stunning 46 times, second-most in the NFL. And even when the Steelers emerged from a short mid-season slump to win nine of their final 10 games, they often didn't look pretty doing it.

Arians was the one blamed most often.

And yet the former York Catholic student and William Penn graduate understands the ups and downs of the profession. He's led a nomadic coaching life for years, bouncing between college and the pros, from being a head coach at Temple to a position coach and then a coordinator in the NFL.

After helping the Steelers win the Super Bowl in 2006 as a wide receivers coach, Arians figured on following colleagues and good friends Ken Whisenhunt and Russ Grimm to the Arizona Cardinals' staff.

But Pittsburgh owner Dan Rooney pushed for him to stay -- and gave him a promotion -- under new head coach Mike Tomlin.

Since then, the Steelers have lost some of their flash on offense, but Roethlisberger has continued to develop, making a routine of late-game heroics. Remember, Arians was Peyton Manning's first NFL tutor.

"This was my most gratifying year of coaching because of all the hurdles we got over," Arians said.

And the Super Bowl was the final, grandest stage.

It culminated in his quarterback, his offense, driving 88 yards for the winning touchdown in the final 2:30 -- after starting with a first down and 20 thanks to a holding penalty.

"He didn't blink," Arians said of Roethlisberger. "That's been our catch-phrase all year, 'Don't blink.' He hit the curl (route), and the next thing you know he's got a first down and away he goes.

"It's like a school teacher. When you have a student who does something special you know you taught him. When he does well I sleep well."

Now, the goal is to find time to unwind and get away from football. If not, the draining work days will begin again shortly with free agency and then the NFL Combine and then the draft and mini-camps and ...

After the 2006 Super Bowl, after seven-straight months of long, pressure-filled days, the Pittsburgh coaches got less than a week off. The team slumped to 8-8 the following season.

"I don't think anyone recovered from it," Arians said. "I don't think there's any doubt. That's what makes it so hard (to repeat). It's so exhausting."

So he has learned, and that's why he and his family are spending 10 days at their second home in Georgia for golfing and relaxing.

With all of those nay-sayers left behind.

Even if the tide may be turning.

There had been rumors that the Oakland Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs were considering Arians as a candidate to fill their head coaching vacancies.

How about a www.hirebrucearians.com?

"It makes your ego feel good," he said. But, "I don't foresee it happening this year."

Maybe winning yet another Super Bowl would put an end to the fan bashing.

"I'm probably the most hated man in Pittsburgh. That's what everybody likes to call me," Arians said with a laugh, only a few hours after riding through the Super Bowl victory parade. "But today was a lot of love."
fbodani@ydr.com; 771-2104

steelwall
02-07-2009, 10:45 PM
Arians was an inrticale part of us winning the superbowl, Arians haters put that in your pipe and smoke it.

However as someone stated in another thread I do believe Ben will start calling more plays at the line. Hell the kid is 25, give him 2 more seasons and he will know this offense better than anyone.

lilyoder6
02-07-2009, 10:50 PM
like i was saying i just see the fact that ben will become a peyton and start picking his plays.. and the OC will just throw in comments during drives

CargoJon
02-07-2009, 11:02 PM
Damn I didn't realize Bruce was from my home town...

steelwall
02-08-2009, 12:09 AM
Well the Raider and Chief head coach vacancies are filled. Hope he actually impresses me this season. Doesnt it seem like nobody thought of blaming the O-line coach? :flap:

Good point.

Preacher
02-08-2009, 12:18 AM
I haven't figured out why we should be blaming any of our coaches.

Maybe we just didn't have the people... and too good of talent existed to pass up in the draft.

Then, we had so many injuries.

I for one, have been screaming about our O line. But hey, We DID win the SB.

rick723
02-08-2009, 12:29 AM
Damn I didn't realize Bruce was from my home town...

Actually guys, I think we owe Ariens some respect. He is a Super Bowl OC Champ :hatsoff:

fansince'76
02-08-2009, 12:31 AM
I haven't figured out why we should be blaming any of our coaches.

Maybe we just didn't have the people... and too good of talent existed to pass up in the draft.

Then, we had so many injuries.

I for one, have been screaming about our O line. But hey, We DID win the SB.

Playing most of the best defenses in the league week in and week out for the better part of the season didn't exactly help our offensive production either. They're good defenses for a reason.

SteelCityMom
02-08-2009, 01:31 AM
Playing most of the best defenses in the league week in and week out for the better part of the season didn't exactly help our offensive production either. They're good defenses for a reason.

Precisely, couple that with injuries to key offensive players and losing Faneca, and the drop of production on offense shouldn't have come as a surprise to anyone.

I was not a fan of some of the playcalling during the season, but I was getting tired of reading 10 "fire Arians" threads everyday on the OMB. I understood the frustration, but there was more too it than most people were willing to see.

Had the RB and OL situations not been in shambles this year I doubt the offense would have seemed like a pass happy offense. A lot of games were spent playing catch up or trying to gain a comfortable lead, so the plan changed a little bit because of that.

I think we'll see a more traditional offense, or at least more of what we're used to seeing from the Steelers, in this next season. They don't have anywhere near the brutal kind of schedule lined up that they did this year in regards to opposing defenses. It will be a welcome relief for sure.

Indo
02-08-2009, 01:56 AM
I don't really dislike Arians...0bviously the Rooneys wanted him to stay---and we all know that they pretty much know what they are doing.
I just don't understand his play-calling inside the Red Zone. It just baffles me.

The first drive of the SB was a perfect example----The calls were perfect. Almost flawless until they got inside the 20. Then it just seemed like a junior high student (not Coach, student) took over the play calling. I don't get it.

I''m not saying that we should get rid of him. I think he's got some talent. I just hope that he looks at film of all of the Red Zone calls that he made and makes some kind of change in that area of the field.

LVSteelersfan
02-08-2009, 03:29 AM
I can't stand him but I know we are stuck with him and hope things work better next year in the red zone. His play calling when we have a small lead is mind boggling. Run the ball up the middle on first down for no or little gain. Oh, lets do it again on second down.Third and long with an empty backfield with no one to block and a sack. Punt. The 3rd and 1s and 4th and 1s on the one yard line were excruciating to watch. Made our offense a laughingstock instead of the powerhouse it used to be. Sorry, but I think we won DESPITE Arians and on the backs of the defense. Those late game heroics were all Ben in the no huddle.

DACEB
02-08-2009, 11:16 AM
Playing most of the best defenses in the league week in and week out for the better part of the season didn't exactly help our offensive production either. They're good defenses for a reason.

Good point and well understood.

I actually like BAs offensive philosophy, and appreciate the continuity aspect of keeping Arians. Looking around the league right now, it's comforting to know the team can go into next season with most of the same pieces in place to compete for another title.

Keep in mind that we saw quite a few changes and new wrinkles as the season went on. I would attribute that to Tomlin's leadership in letting his coaches coach and the coordinators acclimating themselves to Tomlin's coaching philosophy.

I have alot of problems with the play-calling. The first drive in the bowl was almost perfect. As the game went on though the play-calling became questionable. While I was excited to see play-action out of the I form early on, we never went back to it later on while trying to preserve the lead. There should be at least one deep play a quarter off of play-action. Nate and Holmes are capable of beating their man deep every single time. If even one of those hits, late in the bowl, they have no chance to come back.

While Ben and the guys have proven they can come back from a deficit, some of those could have been avoided. The running game and defense would benefit also.

I'm glad we will have the same group next season, but I'll also be looking forward to progressing on the offensive front as well.

Preacher
02-08-2009, 11:23 AM
I can't stand him but I know we are stuck with him and hope things work better next year in the red zone. His play calling when we have a small lead is mind boggling. Run the ball up the middle on first down for no or little gain. Oh, lets do it again on second down.Third and long with an empty backfield with no one to block and a sack. Punt. The 3rd and 1s and 4th and 1s on the one yard line were excruciating to watch. Made our offense a laughingstock instead of the powerhouse it used to be. Sorry, but I think we won DESPITE Arians and on the backs of the defense. Those late game heroics were all Ben in the no huddle.

Seems to me, earlier in the year, when the Steelers were throwing on first and second down, everyone was screaming for them to run the ball and bleed out the clock.