Well Steeler fans, many of you have gotten your wish.
Bruce Arians announced his "retirement" from the position of offensive coordinator for the Pittsburgh Steelers. I use that word lightly because there are a lot of indications that the Steelers ownership wanted a change to be made.
During his tenure as OC, the team went to two Super Bowls and won one of them. He was also the wide receivers coach from 2004-2006 which coincided with the 2005 Super Bowl championship run.
Were the Steelers an offensive juggernaut under Bruce Arians? That depends on your definition of the term. Under Arians, Ben Roethlisberger posted two 4000 yard passing seasons. We saw six 1000 yard receiving seasons, Mendenhall hit the 1000 yard mark twice and we saw a 1000 yard season out of Willie Parker in 2007.
That yardage did not always equal success on the scoreboard. The Steelers never ranked higher than 9th in the NFL during any of Arians six seasons. Conversely during that time frame New England never ranked LOWER than 8th in scoring even when Tom Brady was injured for almost the entire season.
No one can dispute that the Steelers are usually able to move the ball up and down the field. It's the redzone playcalling that leaves many Steeler fans scratching their heads. Calling a delayed handoff when you are in the shadow of your own end zone and taking a safety is simply infuriating.
Pounding the ball at the one yard line makes sense. Giving it to Mewelde Moore instead of Isaac Redman does not.
Now that Arians is gone the focus will shift to who will replace Arians as OC. Some names have popped up immediately. The leading internal candidate was running backs coach Kirby Wilson, but he remains hospitalized trying to recover from the horrible burns he suffered in a house fire before the Denver game.
Quarterbacks coach Randy Fichtner might earn a promotion if he has a strong rapport with Ben Roethlisberger, but if you promote from within you run the risk of falling into the same trap or running the current offense. I think it's pretty clear the Steelers need to move in a new direction, especially with all the weapons they now have on offense.
If we look outside the organization we see names like Todd Haley and Jim Caldwell. Green Bay quarterbacks coach Tom Clements is now likely out of the mix with Packers OC Joe Phillbin taking the head coaching gig in Miami. Clements should earn a promotion to run the Packers offense.
I like Todd Haley. He did a lot of great things with the Arizona offense that basically carried an 8-8 wild card team to within a few minutes of upsetting the Steelers in the 2008 Super Bowl. If you upgrade the offensive line a bit, I think this offense would have an easy chance of being a lot more explosive than that Cards team. Imagine how much Antonio Brown and Mike Wallace could improve with a teacher like that.
Jim Caldwell I'm not as fond of. In my opinion, Peyton Manning ran that Colts offense, not his coaches. The Colts completely fell apart offensively without Peyton in the lineup. I think that shows how strong of a quarterback Manning as well as provide an indictment of how poor the coaches were. New England hardly missed a beat when Tom Brady was lost for the season a few years ago.
Regardless of who the pick is, there is a lot of strong potential for this Steelers offense. Antonio Brown and Mike Wallace are superstars. Heath Miller is one of the most underrated tight ends in the game.
You also have strong veteran presence in Hines Ward and Jerricho Cotchery if they decide to return to the Steelers next year. Add in Emmanuel Sanders who continues to show improvement and that is a lot of weapons in the passing attack.
Also look at Rashard Mendenhall and Isaac Redman and the pieces are in place for a solid running game as well, perhaps if the new OC decides to use a fullback we'll see immediate improvement.
No matter what though, many Steeler fans have gotten what they wanted.
I just hope they don't come to regret it.