Dulac: Art Rooney II Could Overrule Mike Tomlin On Retention Of Matt Canada

Less than a week after Pittsburgh Steelers’ head coach Mike Tomlin expressed optimism about offensive coordinator Matt Canada returning in his role following a frustrating 42-21 season-ending loss in the first round of the AFC playoffs to the Kansas City Chiefs, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Steelers’ Insider Gerry Dulac believes that Steelers owner Art Rooney II could step in and force a change.

Twice in his January 21 season-ending Steelers’ chat on the Post-Gazette’s website, Dulac touched on the possibility that Rooney could come down from on high and force a change at offensive coordinator. Citing the Bruce Arians debacle from the 2012 season, Dulac believes it could happen again with Canada, though assuming Canada would land so quickly on his feet in the NFL like Arians did would be ludicrous.

The Arians situation in 2012 is well-documented. The day after the Steelers lost to Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos in the 2011 Wild Card round, Tomlin declared that Arians would remain in his role as offensive coordinator. Two weeks later though, Tomlin made the shocking statement statement that, “Bruce Arians has informed me that he will retire from coaching. I appreciate his efforts over the past five years as the team’s offensive coordinator and for helping lead our offense to new heights during his time with the Steelers. I am grateful to Bruce for contributing to our success and wish him nothing but the best in his retirement.”

We all know what happened next. It was later reported that the Steelers forced Arians to retire by not renewing his contract. Eight days later, Arians landed in Indianapolis with the Colts as offensive coordinator and soon took over as interim head coach as Chuck Pagano battled leukemia.

Throughout the whole Arians debacle, Tomlin stated many times that he made the call on Arians, not Rooney, but it was clear as day that the decision was forced upon Tomlin to get rid of his offensive coordinator and close friend.

Dulac strongly believes that could happen again, as he reminded Steelers fans that Rooney stepped in to give Arians his bus ticket out of town when Tomlin and Ben Roethlisberger wanted the coordinator to remain in Pittsburgh.

It wouldn’t be surprising to see Rooney force Tomlin to make a change at offensive coordinator, especially after seeing the Steelers’ offense finish 21st in points per game, down from 12th place a season ago, as well as ranking as the worst first down offense in football, averaging just 4.1 yards per play, and scored nine points over their final nine first quarters, fewest in football.

During his season-ending press conference, Tomlin basically stated that the offensive issues had more to do with the personnel available, rather than the play calling, dropping the all-time line of “when you have red paint, you paint the barn red” regarding the personnel. The Steelers began the 2021 season knowing that offensive growing pains were a given with so many new pieces, including an entirely rebuilt offensive line. Tomlin seems prepared to give Canada at least another season to make it work.

But will Rooney?

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