I remember a popular Pittsburgh Steelers forum that had a thread stickeyed to the top of the front page called FIRE BRUCE ARIANS IMMEDIATELY. The thread name was promptly changed to FIRE TODD HALEY IMMEDIATELY. Not when he called his first play. Not when he made his first mistake. When he was first hired.
It was in jest of course, but there is almost always grain of truth in every humorous quip. And the plain old truth is that nobody—at least, no fanbase broadly speaking—likes the offensive coordinator. It is always their fault. It’s just something that comes with the territory, whether at this level, in college, or in a peewee league.
Randy Fichtner, the latest to hold the post of offensive coordinator in Pittsburgh, is not only well aware of what he is about to get himself into—having watched both Bruce Arians and Todd Haley have their feet held to the fire by the fans on a weekly basis—but is also ready for it.
“I’ll be [the lightning rod]. You get put in that position, and that’s fine”, he told reporters as heard on 93.7 The Fan during minicamp yesterday when asked about being prepared for criticism from the fanbase. “It’s interesting because in other places where I’ve coordinated, where you have to make calls, it ends up being no different”.
Fichtner is also well aware that every fan all around the globe, and in the International Space Station, can not only do his job, but do it better than he can. Moreover, he said that the unsolicited suggestions come not just from strangers, but from closer to home. “More from family members, and everything they want to see”, he said.
He continued, offering, “I get it. When you take that position, that’s the role that ends up landing on your shoulder”. But while he joked about the criticism that the role receives and the input that he is getting from all corners, he did get serious when it comes to how he plans to run his offense.
“Anything that we’re going to attempt to do we’re going to do as a staff”, he told the gathered media. “We’re going to do it with a thoughtful mind and hard work and we’re going to attempt to put our players on the field with the best opportunity to have success”.
That has been a consistent theme in Fichtner’s remarks since he was given the job soon after the Steelers’ season ended, even while he was in charge of coaching at the Pro Bowl. He has insisted that it would be a collaborative effort, which Haley was accused of not engaging in, at least often enough.