If you were anywhere near social media circles that follow the Pittsburgh Steelers when news broke that the team will be retaining offensive coordinator Todd Haley, then you saw the firestorm that ensued. Haley is a character that most Steelers fans love to hate, but isn’t that all just a day in the life of an NFL coordinator?
After all, it’s a job where he essentially can’t win. People criticize Haley when the Steelers run the ball too much, and they criticize him when Ben Roethlisberger throws the ball too often. If Haley calls an end-around reverse and it goes for a loss of five yards, he is massacred, but if the play would have gone for 40 yards, he would be considered a genius.
Actually, I’ve never heard a Steelers fan call Haley a genius because quite frankly, he never gets any praise or credit for the offense’s success.
Regardless of your thoughts or feelings towards the polarizing Haley being retained, Steelers fans cannot be surprised by this move. I actually predicted it as I watched the second half of the season unfold with the Steelers’ offense putting up tremendous points behind Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell.
The offense was dynamic and would have made the team a legitimate threat if the they would have been able to squeak into the playoffs. One of the biggest reasons why this move shouldn’t be a shock is that it seems like the relationship between Haley and Roethlisberger is to be improving. If Roethlisberger gets his contract extended this offseason, then that is a clear sign that the quarterback and his coordinator are finally on the same page, and that can only lead to success for the Steelers.
Love or hate Haley, his offense in the second half of the season began to perform the way everyone expected. Not only were they scoring points, efficient in the red zone and moving the ball in time-consuming drives, but Roethlisberger was staying upright and ultimately healthy.
In the first nine games of the 2013 season, Roethlisberger was sacked 39 times. It was the game against the Detroit Lions that the Steelers began running the no-huddle as their primary offense. Since Haley decided to give Roethlisberger the freedom of running the no-huddle, Roethlisberger was sacked only seven times in the final seven games.
Like it or not, but when Art Rooney II and his father Dan Rooney sat down with head coach Mike Tomlin, GM Kevin Colbert and Haley, they could not look at the numbers and say that Haley wasn’t doing his job. There is plenty of fodder available for Haley’s dismissal — all you have to do is look up his name on Twitter on a Sunday during the NFL season — but that could be the case for any coordinator in the NFL.
Much to the dismay of Steelers fan everywhere, Haley is coming back for at least one more season; and regardless of what you may think, maybe this was a move that could benefit the team.