The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2021 season is over, already eliminated from the postseason after suffering a 42-21 loss at the hands of Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. They just barely made the postseason with a 9-7-1 record and a little help from their friends.
This is an offseason of major change, with the retirement of Ben Roethlisberger, the possible retirement of general manager Kevin Colbert, and the decisions about the futures of many important players to be made, such as Joe Haden, Stephon Tuitt, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and others.
Aside from exploring their options at the quarterback position, the top global priority, once again, figures to be addressing the offensive line, which they did not do quite adequately enough a year ago. Dan Moore Jr. looks like he may have a future as a full-time starter, but Kendrick Green was clearly not ready. Chukwuma Okorafor is heading into free agency, as is Trai Turner.
These are the sorts of topics among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked. There is rarely a concrete answer, but this is your venue for exploring the topics we present through all their uncertainty.
Question: What are the odds of the Steelers making an outside hire for general manager like Louis Riddick?
While Steelers president Art Rooney II has expressed a certain level of openness to the possibility of looking outside the organization in making hiring decisions, historical results suggest that this is not the norm. They interviewed outside candidates for defensive coordinator, but it was consistently reported that Teryl Austin was the favorite, and that is likely to be officially announced soon.
With Kevin Colbert stepping down from the general manager title, the team has interviewed or scheduled interviews with some outside candidates, most recently and most notably with Louis Riddick, a former ball player, a Pittsburgh graduate, and a former scout and director of pro personnel for the Eagles.
Riddick last held a post in the NFL in 2013, and has since then worked for ESPN, but it wouldn’t be the first time that a personality makes that game-to-broadcasting-back-to-game transition. Mike Mayock did it as a general manager recently, and Jon Gruden returned to coaching after a long time away, as well.
But the Steelers have in-house candidates like Brandon Hunt and Omar Khan, whom one could argue are more qualified for the job, and it may well be taken as a slap in the face, not just to them, but to many others in the organization if they’re passed over, especially for someone like Riddick, for the top executive job.
Many Steelers fans have grown tired of the team’s in-house promotions, although it is commonplace in every organization—numerous teams just this offseason have made promotions in their staff when losing a coordinator to a head-coaching job, or an executive to a general manager job.
Colbert’s departure from the role has long been known to be coming in the near future. Khan and Hunt have long been identified as potential successors. None of this is coming out of the blue. I imagine it’s still overwhelmingly likely that one of them earns the job. But it’s still intriguing to think about the possibility of their deciding to go another way—even if it has the ripple effect of likely losing both Khan and Hunt in the near future.