New Castle News


February 10, 2012

NFL Football: Tomlin, Steelers welcome Haley as new coordinator

NEW CASTLE — Throughout the 16 minutes that followed him glowingly introducing former Kansas City Chiefs coach Todd Haley as his new offensive coordinator, Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin stood proudly in the corner of the second-floor media room at the team’s facility.


During the press conference officially announcing Haley as the replacement for Bruce Arians, Tomlin even offered approving nods and smiles at the appropriate times.

And, yes, he also laughed when Haley was asked about his reputation as someone who has had difficulty getting along with co-workers.

“As an offensive coordinator, he brings a wealth of knowledge and experience,” Tomlin said. “But he also brings intangibles I really value.”

Time will tell.

Amid reports that Steelers president Art Rooney II orchestrated the departure of Arians and pushed for Haley to be his replacement above Tomlin’s wishes, Tomlin made it a point to mention he was the one conducting the interviews for Arians’ replacement.

“When I started this process of exploring potential coordinators, I talked to a lot of people and did a lot of research, and I was really impressed by him,” Tomlin said. “Not only by his resume and his experience, but also his genuine love for the Pittsburgh Steelers. That was a unique element of it for me, one I’ve been attracted to in the past, to be quite honest.”

A 15-year NFL coaching veteran, Haley stressed his ties to the Steelers organization and his reverence for its tradition. The son of former Steelers director of player personnel Dick Haley reminisced about growing up a team ball boy.

“All of my early memories in life somehow,” Haley said, “revolved around the Steelers.

“I’m just very grateful coach Tomlin and the Rooney family thought enough of me to have me in here to help be part of continued greatness. In my mind, this is the greatest organization in the NFL and the greatest team, and that all comes from the heart.”

Haley, 44, was fired by Kansas City on Dec. 13, after going 19-26 in two-plus seasons with the Chiefs, leading them to the 2010 AFC West title. He finished third in AP coach of the year voting that season with the league’s top rushing offense.

As offensive coordinator of the Arizona Cardinals two years prior to that, Haley’s offense was second in the NFL in passing.  

“I’m just a believer, offensively, that you do what gives you the best chance to succeed,” Haley said. “So if you’re best chance to succeed is running the ball 63 times a game, then you run it 63 times a game. I’m going to do what gives our players the chance to be the best they possibly can be.”

Under Arians, now with the Indianapolis Colts, the Steelers ranked 12th last season in total offense but 21st in scoring. He left behind an offense that scored 325 points en route to finishing 12-4.

The Steelers lost the AFC North title to Baltimore on a tiebreaker, and were eliminated from the postseason by Denver.

Tomlin, who was not quoted in Tuesday’s team release announcing Haley’s hiring, said after the season that Arians would be back. He reportedly told Arians himself and other members of his staff that, too.

But the Steelers announced what they termed Arians’ retirement in a short release with no comment from Arians on Jan. 20. Ten days later, Arians took a job with the Colts.

Tomlin acknowledged “this transition is going to be a challenge,” and wouldn’t provide any details on the look of the new offense.

“We find pleasure,” Tomlin said, “in that being somewhat of a mystery.”

Haley spent 10 seasons as an assistant before being hired by Kansas City. While the offensive coordinator for Arizona in 2007-08, he helped the Cardinals to their only Super Bowl appearance.

His father helped preside over player moves that formed the Super Bowl era’s first dynasty. Dick Haley, who held his job with the Steelers from 1971-1990, is best known for Pittsburgh’s 1974 draft class that is considered among the best in NFL history because it produced four Hall of Fame players.

Haley’s familiarity with the terminology of the Steelers’ system comes not from that era, but from his time in Arizona working under former Steelers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt.

Haley also began his NFL career in the scouting department of the New York Jets when that team employed Ron Erhardt as offensive coordinator in 1996. Erhardt held that job with the Steelers when they went to the Super Bowl the previous season.

Haley said he’s approaching the Pittsburgh offense with a clean slate.

“Players want to know that you have their best or greatest desires at the front of your list,” Haley said. “Every player that I’ve ever been around, whether as a position coach, coordinator or head coach, once they figure that out, you have their respect.”

Although Haley said he has spent an abundance of time with Tomlin over the past week, he has not yet met Pro Bowl quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

Roethlisberger was at the team facility yesterday, but was not part of the press conference. The two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback had a good relationship with Arians and has openly campaigned for Arians to stay on in the past.

“Transition is always a little — I wouldn’t even say difficult — but there’s an uncomfortable aspect to newness,” Haley said. “But that’s not always a bad thing. I think it’ll be a great thing in this case, and he’s going to figure out that we’re just trying to make him as good as he can possibly can be.

“Not many players that I’ve known have ever had an issue with that.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • 628x471.jpg Legendary Steelers coach Chuck Noll dies at 82

    Chuck Noll, the Hall of Fame coach who won a record four Super Bowl titles with the Pittsburgh Steelers, died last night at his home. He was 82. The Allegheny County Medical Examiner said Noll died of natural causes.

    June 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • demedal.tiff Pro Football: After taking part in minicamp, DeMedal playing 'waiting game' with Steelers

    Jake DeMedal’s football career is in limbo. After competing in the Pittsburgh Steelers’ rookie minicamp May 15-18, the Wilmington High and St. Francis University (Loretto, Pa.) product is waiting to hear back from the team if he should report to Latrobe in July for training camp.

    June 5, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pro Football: Munchak to join Steelers’ staff

    Mike Munchak is going back to his roots, and heading closer to home in the process. A person familiar with the decision said Wednesday night the former Tennessee Titans head coach will join the Pittsburgh Steelers as offensive line coach.

    January 23, 2014

  • steelerswrapup.jpg Steelers humbled but optimistic after 8-8 finish

     The Pittsburgh Steelers have seven long months to think about what exactly happened in 2013. Are they closer to the team that looked lost and overmatched at times during a 2-6 start? Or are they closer to the one that went 6-2 over the final eight weeks and came within a shanked field goal and a botched penalty call in San Diego from making the playoffs?

    December 31, 2013 1 Photo

  • Treu.jpg Steve Treu: Chiefs’ missed field goal left Steelers where they belonged

    A successful boot by the Kansas City placekicker was all that separated Pittsburgh from a wildly improbable postseason berth.

    December 30, 2013 1 Photo

  • steelersousted.jpg Steelers win, but fail to reach playoffs

    Pittsburgh played like it didn’t want its season to end. Cleveland looked as though it couldn’t wait to pack things up and go home.

    December 29, 2013 1 Photo

  • steelersalive.jpg Steelers somehow still alive for playoffs

    The math remains tricky. The circumstances remain less than ideal. And yet, the Pittsburgh Steelers are still alive for the playoffs entering the final week of the season. 

    December 24, 2013 1 Photo

  • Treu.jpg Steve Treu: Steelers up the ante at the end of lackluster season

    That was worth it. No matter what happens next weekend, that was worth it. Yesterday’s high-fiving, head-scratching, jaw-dropping, curse-inducing, postseason death-defying 38-31 victory by the Pittsburgh Steelers over the Green Bay Packers made this otherwise forgettable 2013 season at least somewhat memorable.

    December 23, 2013 1 Photo

  • Treu.jpg Steve Treu: Steelers make easy work of Bungles

    For one day, at least, Steelers fans got to turn all those frowns upside down. The recent study by two Emory University professors that described Steelers fans as the most negative in the NFL certainly would surprise no one around these parts, especially not if they have followed this season at all.

    December 16, 2013 1 Photo

  • Treu.jpg Steve Treu: Steelers not done yet — yeah, and Cleveland may win a Super Bowl

    Let’s give credit where credit is due. We’ve all seen that multiple-lateraling, fumblerooski-type of play from scrimmage or on a kickoff return at the end of some game virtually every week.

    December 9, 2013 1 Photo

House Ads

Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 fell from the sky in Donetsk, Ukraine, on Thursday, killing all 298 people aboard. Many are speculating that Russian rebels (supported by Vladimir Putin) are responsible for downing the aircraft. What do you think?

Yes. All evidence points that way.
No. Everyone is so quick to point fingers, but there's not enough evidence to support claims of Russian guilt.
I'm not sure. I'll just wait until the investigation is over to make up my mind.
What is up with these Malaysian Airlines planes? I know one airline I won't be flying any time soon...
     View Results