USA TODAY Sports
A year ago, former Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians spoke of retiring, with a hint of bitterness that he never got an opportunity to interview for a head coaching job. Now, it appears he'll have multiple suitors. Two teams have requested permission to interview him, and a third is expected.
We ran a shallow summary of the Steelers' offensive production under former offensive coordinator Bruce Arians in 2011, and the production under current offensive coordinator Todd Haley in 2012.
While the results were inconclusive at best, on the surface, they really didn't appear to favor either candidate.
Arians was let go/fired/not retained last season, and was hired by Indianapolis as its offensive coordinator. He was the Colts' interim head coach when Chuck Pagano was diagnosed with Leukemia early in the year. Arians, the odds-on favorite for NFL Coach of the Year, led the Colts to a 10-6 record, and a playoff game at Baltimore Sunday.
Regardless of his track record in Pittsburgh (results are split significantly among Steelers fans), Arians is a hot commodity in the coaching searches of teams currently without head coaches.
While Kansas City hired Andy Reid, and Buffalo hired Doug Marrone, Chicago and Philadelphia have both sought, and received, permission to interview Arians for their openings.
Kevin Acee of the Trib-Union in San Diego says the Chargers will seek permission as well.
It's tough to see a guy get three interviews in the same season and not get hired, outside of Rooney Rule interviews (which is an entirely separate argument). Arians' success in Indianapolis goes beyond just the production his offense showed. On paper, the Colts aren't exactly an outstanding offensive team - 22nd in rushing yards, 7th in passing yards but 27th in rating. They're averaging 22.3 points a game.
Play-to-play production is one thing; leading a team in an extremely rare instance of a head coach going on medical leave early in the season, and early in his tenure with the team, to a 10-6 record with a rookie quarterback and a largely reshuffled roster is impressive.
It wasn't long ago, though, Arians was talking about retirement, although much of that was due to the fact the Steelers chose not to retain him, and considering his age, filing for retirement would have given him access to his pension.
He did say in an article with the York Daily Record (linked here by Behind The Steel Curtain) done after he left the Steelers a year ago, he had interest in becoming a head coach.
It's crazy how much changes in a year. Nearly 365 days ago, he was out in Pittsburgh and didn't get an interview for any of the head coaching jobs he applied for. Now, it appears as if he'll have multiple opportunities.