When the Pittsburgh Steelers play the Houston Texans Monday night at Heinz Field, there will be two coordinators going against each other that know one another very well.
When Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley was the head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs from 2009-11, Texans defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel held that same position with the Chiefs from 2010-11. Haley had initially wanted to hire Crennel when he first arrived in Kansas City in 2009, but he had to wait a year as Crennel decided to sit out that season as he was recovering from hip surgery at the time.
Haley and Crennel had a history together prior to the Kansas City years as they were both on the New York Jets coaching staff for three seasons from 1997-99. Haley spent time as an offensive assistant and wide receivers coach during those three seasons while Crennel coached the Jets defensive line.
Just prior to them coaching together in Kansas City, Haley was the offensive coordinator for the Arizona Cardinals for two seasons. In 2007, Haley’s first year with the Cardinals, he beat the Cleveland Browns 27-21. Crennel, at that time, was the Browns head coach.
After Haley was fired by the Chiefs late in the 2011 season, Crennel succeeded him as head coach. In 2012, Haley’s first season as the Steelers offensive coordinator, he beat the Crennel-led Chiefs 16-13. Remember that game? It was on a Monday night in Week 10 and the Steelers won the game early in overtime after linebacker Lawrence Timmons picked off then-Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassell on the second play of the extra period.
Should Crennel exact his revenge Monday night against the man that hired him several years ago to run his defense in Kansas City, it could mark the beginning of the end of Haley’s time in Pittsburgh. A Texans win would drop the Steelers to 3-4 on the season and at that point they would need one hell of turnaround in the second half of the season in order to make the playoffs.