Halley's Comet appears visible to the Earth once every 75-76 years. Todd Haley's hiring as offensive coordinator is another strange occurrence for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
It has been a long time since the Steelers hired an outsider to run the offense. You have to go back to 1999 (Kevin Gilbride) to find the last offensive coordinator that was hired by the Pittsburgh Steelers from outside the organization's coaching staff. That's a long time in the NFL.
Haley served as the offensive coordinator for the Arizona Cardinals for the later part of the 2007 season and full time for their run to the Super Bowl in 2008. That season saw the Arizona Cardinals put up a franchise record 427 points and averaged 365.8 Yards per game, good for fourth in the NFL. They nearly pulled off a stunning upset in Super Bowl XLIII against the Steelers.
He became the head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs and removed Chan Gailey as offensive coordinator, preferring to call his own plays. We saw a complete shift in offensive style to a rushing based attack. To me this shows Haley is willing to adapt his offensive gameplans to utilize the weapons he has at his disposal.
The main reason he wasn't as successful in Kansas City is because he had Matt Cassel instead of Kurt Warner, Dwayne Bowe instead of Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin. He did have Jamaal Charles, which was a big reason for focusing on the run.
He brings a fiery attitude that might seem like a direct contrast to the calm, cool and collected manner in which head coach Mike Tomlin operates, but I think that could be a good thing for this team.
I see a ton of similarities between the talent the Steelers have on offense and the pieces Haley had to work with in that magical 2008 season.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger can do a lot of the same things Kurt Warner could do, plus Big Ben is more mobile and a lot harder to bring down. The Steelers have two Pro-Bowl caliber wide receivers in Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown, just like that 2008 squad had with Boldin and Fitzgerald. I'm also convinced Rashard Mendenhall has a lot more talent that Edgerrin James did by that point of his career, and Tim Hightower isn't exactly a superstar.
The biggest thing I expect Haley to bring will be balance to the way the Steelers attack opposing defenses. I don't think the Steelers will start flinging it 65% of the time, and I don't think Mendenhall will suddenly become the focal point of the offense. The final numbers should land somewhere in the middle, and that's a good thing.
The Steelers were good under Bruce Arians, but I also think Todd Haley is just the right guy to make them great.