Ever since it was announced that Bruce Arians had retired as the Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator, team president Art Rooney II has been accused of being a meddlesome owner as it relates to not letting head coach Mike Tomlin make his own decisions in regards to his own coaching staff.. Although the Arians exit was termed a retirement in a statement by Tomlin, Arians was hired as the Indianapolis Colts new offensive coordinator just a short time thereafter. That led many to think that Rooney II put his foot down about Arians returning. Tomlin had said in his final press conference of the season that he did not anticipate changes forthcoming to his coaching staff at that time, he did however leave the door cracked when he added, “I anticipate it, but of course we all understand what the end of the season is about, and movement is a part of it in today’s NFL for players and coaches. We are going to try to maintain continuity like we always do. We believe that is a benefit to us, but we also understand that things can happen, and we will deal with those as they arrive.”
Since it was announced that Todd Haley would be the new offensive coordinator, many also have wondered if the decision to hire him was that of Tomlin or if Rooney II had a strong hand involved in that decision due to the abrasive style that Haley would likely bring to the table. Rooney II answered to the criticism today in interview with Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review when he was quoted as saying, “I can`t say what people on the outside think, but (Tomlin) picks his staff,” Rooney told the Tribune-Review. He also added, “”Mike picks his staff, like I said, so he should talk about it in public,” Rooney said in a wide-ranging interview. “The head coach should do the talking in that situation, not the owner.”
Rooney II of course is pointing to the fact that the statement on the retirement of Arians was in the name of Tomlin and that Tomlin was the one to introduce Haley to the media last Thursday at his introductory press conference. It should be noted that Rooney II was not present for the press conference. Rooney II maintains in the article by Rossi that there is a line you have to draw as an owner and he maintains that he knows his role as team president. On Wednesday Steelers GM Kevin Colbert was also quoted as saying that the decision to hire Haley was solely that of Tomlin.