Yesterday was a surprisingly big news day for the Pittsburgh Steelers considering it was the first day of the year in which they had nothing to do. And unsurprisingly, when news comes out at this time of year, it’s not often of a positive variety.
I’ll get to the latest Antonio Brown drama later, but now for the second offseason in a row, Steelers offensive line coach Mike Munchak is apparently being very seriously considered as a prime candidate to fill one of several head coaching vacancies around the NFL.
Munchak has only ever worked for two franchises in his NFL career. He played to a Hall of Fame career as a player for the Houston Oilers and then was the offensive line coach for the Oilers and then Tennessee Titans. He served as head coach for three seasons before he was fired, and then the Steelers quickly hired him as their line coach.
He has been here for a few years now, but will this be the end? He was a finalist for one job last year but he ultimately chose to withdraw himself from the running. He has at least three serious interviews this offseason, and it will be hard to turn that down two years in a row.
Not that Munchak is looking for a place to go. By all accounts, he loves it in Pittsburgh, both personally and professionally, and has done a stellar job of taking the raw talent at his position that the team has provided him with and gotten the most out of them. He’s had three different players make multiple Pro Bowls under his watch.
This season, with Todd Haley gone as offensive coordinator, Munchak has played a bigger role in building the offensive game plan every week, which is something that new offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner has mentioned a time or two.
So even though he is officially only the offensive line coach, he does have broader responsibilities. Everybody in that building knows how valuable he is, not just to the offensive line, but to other aspects of the team as well.
Could he perhaps be persuaded to stay by being given a larger role in a formal manner? Perhaps, as John Mitchell had been since 2007, Mike Tomlin could name him an Assistant Head Coach, or maybe a Special Assistant, as Hue Jackson was with the Cincinnati Bengals.
The sky would not fall if Munchak does leave, and that’s a topic that we’ll certainly get into down the line as the interviews start happening and things get more serious. But he is clearly not a personality within the makeup of the organization that you would like to lose.