I'll first lead with a rumor going around during the days of choosing our next new Head Coach and then throw a few other tidbits your way.
"A couple of KC sources told one of the local talk radio stations Clark Hunt and Scott Pioli are having problems agreeing on the new candidate for HC. Pioli obviously wants Todd Haley because of their ties in the past. But Clark Hunt wants to bring in a HC who has ties to the Chiefs from the Marty Shottenheimer days. That the name being tossed out is Bruce Arians".
Now, that was just one of those wild, tossed out rumors during those days. But, perhaps there was merit. Beyond the old Chiefs connections, there are plenty of things to add to the strong case as Arians being our new OC.
1. He is a humbler version of Charlie Weis. That is, he has a lot of the same credentials, i.e., superbowl rings, ties to strong, winning programs that we would like to emulate (Steelers)
2. Dick Haley, father of Todd Haley, has strong ties to the Steeler organization thru his days as a player and as Director of Player Personnel (yeah, he drafted some of the great ones). He, of course, now is a member of the Parcells familia in Miami. Ah, yet another sign the families are coming together.
3. Ken Whisenhunt was Offensive Coordinator for the Steelers during same time frame that Cowher brought in Arians as wide receivers coach. Arians would then take over as OC after Whisenhunt left. And actually, Arians was on Whisenhunt's list OC recruits when he went to Arizona, but Pittsburgh denied him permission and promoted Arians themselves. Whisenhunt and Haley are friends, so I would suspect conversations and suggestions happen.
4. Romeo Crennel. They weren't together at Cleveland, Arians came in the year Romeo left his first stint there, and Romeo came back two years after Arains left the Browns. The only connection they have is staring across the field at each other as each gameplanned for the other. But I get the feeling these two would have some good respect for each other, and probably get along fairly well.
3. Weis, was brought in not only because of his ties, but also for his skill with improving the quarterback play. Well, Arians has a bit of his own history there, and perhaps even better then Weis. Overall, Arians pedigree is actually better. He worked his way up through the ranks of coaching receivers, tight ends, running backs and quarterbacks. He was a quarterback in college, and although by todays standards his stats were not awesome, he was the team MVP his senior year (might note he rushed for more touchdowns then he threw).
Arians started out his coaching career in the college ranks, as wide receivers and running backs coach at Mississippi state in 1975. He then went on to Alabama to work with none other then Paul "Bear" Bryant as running backs coach. He had some tenure as college Head Coach at Temple before making his way into the NFL with none other then the Kansas City Chiefs as running backs coach. It was there that he and Bill Cowher became acquainted. Arians jumped back to college ball as OC at Mississippi State before coming back to the NFL as tight ends coach for the New Orleans Saints. Alabama brought him back as OC for a year before he got picked up by the Indianapolis Colts in 1998 as quarterbacks coach. He watched over the first two years of the play of a certain "little known quarterback". Arians left to be OC for the new Cleveland Browns. Cowher brought him to the Steelers where he is currently under contract until the end of the playoffs.
As to his relations with quarterbacks, and also to as the reason why Arians will not get another contract with the Steelers. Arians and Tomlin supposedly did not see eye to eye last year, and was even reported as being fired at one point. One rumor circulating at the time as to why Arians remained, was that Big Ben wanted him there. Even though Arians has stated that due to Ben's great relationship with his own father, their was not really a coach to player mentor type relationship, but the two played golf together often. And Arians did pretty well with the aforementioned Peyton Manning and credited with developing him in those early years. Not a bad thought for taking over for Weis in "fixing" the quarterback. A few folks have suggested Cassel needs to work on his play fakes, well take a book from Manning and Arians....a Sun Sentinel story out of Miami had these words...
As a Colts rookie, Manning worked with quarterbacks coach Bruce Arians, now the Steelers' offensive coordinator. They spent hours in the film room breaking down the intricacies of the play fake, particularly when it came to three of the best at the fundamental: Boomer Esiason, Dave Krieg and Steve DeBerg.
"Bruce and I really spent a lot of time," Manning says, "on trying to make the run and the pass look the exact same."
4. There is the theory out there that Haley is wanting a young gun to mentor, perhaps Nick Sirianni (who grew up being a Steelers fan by the way). Well, Sirianni needs much more experience to make that jump IMO. He needs a tutor to follow and learn the ropes of being an OC. Who better then Arians? An older coach, who has seen it all, can fill that young head with a ton of stories, facts and the legacy of coaching. And he could probably bring a few pointers to Haley as well.
I think Haley's and Arians' coaching methods and personalities would actually mesh pretty well. Although we are a strong running team, Haley's offenses have been known to like to pass the ball. So does Arians.
ODD FACT: Todd Haley was offered the wide receivers coaching position in 2004 by Cowher, but turned it down. Cowher then turned to Arians to take the job instead.
ODD Fact 2: In one of the better superbowls, Superbowl 43...what two Offensive Coordinators faced each other...Todd Haley and Bruce Arians.
UPDATE SINCE I FIRST PUBLISHED THIS: Bill Williamson over at ESPN is now reporting
"In addition to Denver’s open defensive coordinator job, the other key openings in the AFC West are offensive coordinator in Kansas City and defensive coordinator in Oakland. Kansas City coach Todd Haley continued the interview process for his opening Friday with an unknown candidate."