2010 Playoffs

Bruce Arians Super Bowl XLV Media Day Interview Transcript



(on working for Mike Tomlin) “It’s fabulous. You can’t put into words what he brings to a football team: intelligence, character, leadership, all the things you want in your head coach, and an uncanny rapport with his players, because he’s basically their age. He’s just a little bit older than my son. I could probably be Coach (Dick) LeBeau’s son, so you can imagine what it’s like for him. A great respect for the coaching staff and for his players and hardcore beliefs in what he believes in. That’s all you can ask for as an assistant coach, a guy that’s got a path, and he ain’t getting off the path, and you know what it is so you can all drive towards the end goal. He does just a fabulous job. He has very good sayings of not blinking, because we’ve had as many injuries as anybody. There are probably 30 teams out there who have not had the injuries that we’ve had, or that Green Bay has had. They’ll use that for an excuse while they’re sitting at home. We had a lot of injuries. Mike talks about, ‘The standard is the standard,’ and we’ve preached it forever. If you’re starting in black and gold, there is a standard. We don’t care what your name is. You play at that level, and the guys do. (Center) Doug Legursky stepped up last week and played lights out. That’s the third time he’s had to do it. We’ve played seven offensive tackles and four quarterbacks in this season. There are no excuses, and when your head coach preaches that all the time, they hear it.”

(on if he doubted whether or not he’d be with the Steelers after Bill Cowher resigned) “Oh yeah, there was a lot because at that time (former Steelers Offensive Coordinator) Kenny (Whisenhunt) was going to Arizona, and I thought (former Steelers Offensive Line Coach) Russ (Grimm) was going to be going somewhere. Both offered me a chance to come with them. I met Mike (Tomlin) at the Pro Bowl the year we coached the Pro Bowl. He was there with (Buccaneers CB) Ronde Barber, and Ronde’s father was my roommate in college. We had a great week out there. It was the first time I’d spent much time with him (Tomlin), and I got to know him. I really liked him. Then he comes in, boom, and he gets the job, and Mr. (Dan) Rooney says, ‘You’re staying.’ I said, ‘Ok, I’m staying.’ It’s worked out great.”

(on if he thinks QB Ben Roethlisberger may have experienced too much success and fame too soon) “I think that happens to a lot of these guys, the young kids who come in, have success, there is a sense of entitlement. That catch phrase is kind of going around in a lot of sports now, and I think it happens to all of us whether it’s someone who writes a best seller. You look at yourself different. You feel pretty good about yourself. It’s the same thing as a coach. You win some ballgames, you feel pretty good about yourself. It’s different when that success kind of becomes who you are and you stray away from your family and your roots and everything. It takes a punch in the nose to get you back.”

(on if he was nervous about who Roethlisberger might be when he returned from his suspension) “No, because we’re so close. He’s only in Georgia because he bought the house around the corner from me. We play a lot of golf together. He was down there on a birthday trip that was at the golf course and a bad situation occurred that he has overcome, and I’ve been blessed to help him overcome it. He’s better for everything. As a football player, he’s never wavered. He’s very good friends with my kids. They’re all the same age, and I couldn’t ask for a better person for them to hang out with.”

(on the Rooney family’s legacy) “I’ve been in a lot of places, about 14 different cities and colleges, and there’s nothing like the Rooneys. The only person that even comes close was (Chiefs Founder) Lamar Hunt. I had the great honor of working for Mr. Hunt and Carl Pederson and Marty Schottenheimer, but Mr. (Dan) Rooney is special. I look forward every day to go down and get coffee to see Mr. Rooney. I really miss him now that he’s in Ireland. I truly do, because our players love him. He’s out there all the time with them. He’s walking through the locker room at all times. You just don’t see that with Mr. Hunt when he was in Dallas. You don’t see that in any other organization. Our offices are all on one level. When players come upstairs, it’s front office, sports information, coaches, teaching rooms. They’re all on the same level and it’s family. I think that’s what separates this organization. You hear a lot of people talk about chemistry and you talk about family, this is a family-operated (organization). Mr. and Mrs. Rooney come in from Ireland, they’re eating at the hotel on Saturday night with the players, and the guys can’t wait to see them. I can’t wait to see them. It is special. I don’t know if anybody else can replicate it, because he got it from his father and they’re passing it down through the family. Everybody wants to do it the Steeler way, but I don’t really know if you can.”

(on how different the Packers’ ownership is from the Steelers) “Sure, it’s totally different, and that system works, too. It’s great, it’s gratifying for me. I’ll end my career as a Steeler because this is going to be my last job. I don’t have to worry about it. I can retire. It was kind of similar for me working in college, working and getting beat by Coach (Paul “Bear”) Bryant and going to work for him. And working for him his last two years, these systems are very similar.”

(on facing Green Bay’s secondary) “It’s hard because of their speed. Their secondary is probably the best tackling secondary that we’ve faced in the last couple of years, but Charles (Woodson) is an excellent blitzer. He’s got the strength of a linebacker and then he’s got the speed of a DB. He presents a lot of problems. We have to know where he’s at all the time, whether he’s back there and we’re throwing it or he’s rushing us. The same thing with Clay Matthews. Wherever he’s at, as a standup guy, as an end, (Packers Defensive Coordinator) Dom (Capers) does a great job of moving him around. Also the corners, they did a great job of bringing the corners against Chicago. They’re extremely difficult in planning for. It helps that we see it all the time from our own defense, but they’re still different.”

(on T Flozell Adams) “I can’t say enough about Flo. He’s been the only rock we’ve had that’s stayed there all year. He’s trying to play in the Baltimore game with about a 104 temperature. He didn’t even know where he was. But he has been outstanding. I don’t know if I ever had a worse M.O. on a guy. Having watched Flo play for all those years, I had the total wrong perception. Great guy. One of the hardest working guys I’ve ever been around. He got beat in a preseason game, and he kept our defense backs out for an hour after practice for like eight days, making him set properly against speed. He was going to be a right tackle, and he was going to make himself one. He brought a physical presence to an already physical offensive line. The only thing, you had to see us get off the plane and you saw the entire offensive line wearing his college jersey.”

(on what he previously thought of Adams) “I had just heard and seen things that he wasn’t a hard working guy and he wasn’t an intuit player. I was totally wrong and got bad information. I’m glad ‘Kugs’ (Offensive Line Coach Sean Kugler) called some guys, our offensive line coach. We signed him, and he has been great. We’re not here without him. Like I said, when all those guys put your jersey on and get off the plane, that talks about the locker room.”

(on the false report last year that he’d been fired) “We had just put out the most prolific offense in Steeler history: 4,000-yard passer, 1,000-yard rusher who only played 12 games because Willie Parker was our runner and Rashard (Mendenhall) came in and got 1,000. (We had) two 1,000-yard receivers and a tight end who broke the franchise record. It was kind of unusual. There really wasn’t as much smoke or fire as everybody made it out to be. One young guy in town just decided to report that I was fired. He had no basis for it, other than he thinks he had a good clue from somebody. I’m trying to think of the word he used when he tried to apologize to me for it. A lot of people ran with it because all the guys had left the building. The press was gone. I was downstairs working out. I don’t let that stuff bother me, and if it would, I’d just go get another job. It’s happened before, in Cleveland and other places. If a head coach is going to make that decision, he’s going to make that decision. There’s never any hard feelings about it, but that thing last year I think got a little bit blown out of proportion.”

(on throwing the ball on the game-clinching drive against Jets rather than running and playing safe) “To me that’s playing to lose. We have a head coach, when I looked him in the eye, said, ‘Coach, what do you want to do?’ He said, ‘Play to win.’ I said, ‘Coach, that means throwing it.’ He said, ‘Play to win.’ It’s hard to run the ball in that situation. You run it on first down. You get a few. The play-action pass is set up and ready to go, make a first down, because you trust your quarterback. Without that trust, you were going to run, run, punt and let the defense go win the game. That’s not our job. Our job is to kneel down at the end and put the thing on ice. If you trust your quarterback, then it’s not a problem. It’s easy to call those plays because you heard (Jets Head Coach) Rex (Ryan). ‘They’re going to run it!’ No we’re not. Even on third down, Mike and I had talked about this scenario, whether it be in overtime or a critical third down at the end of the ballgame, what play do you want to run? Well, we normally sprint out, and New York sprints out a lot. As Mike said to me, ‘Look, they’re kind of used to seeing that against themselves.’ I said, ‘The other thing is the five wides, and if they blitz us, we’ll have a good hot. If not, Ben will make a play.’ When we called it, I said, ‘If Hines (Ward) isn’t there, take off running.’ He did, boom, here comes Antonio (Brown) and he makes one of the greatest plays of the season. It all goes back to the trust factor.”

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