With all the success enjoyed by the Washington Redskins, Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers in 2012, it was only a matter of time before someone began to implicate the run-option offense as the missing link between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the NFL post-season.
Mike Tomlin spoke to the media on Tuesday at the owner's meetings to address questions regarding the team's recent roster activity, outlook on the off-season and draft anticipation. During the press conference, he was asked about the possibility of Pittsburgh perpetuating the phase the league seems to be going through.
Per his reply, not only has Tomlin been thinking about the run-option offense with sincere interest; in fact, he is looking forward to it in 2013.
"We look forward to stopping it. We look forward to eliminating it."
Tomlin put an end to this rumor before it had a chance to spread wings. He identified the recent offensive trend as just a passing fad, and the Steelers would have no part of it; except to hopefully be the predator to end its existence.
"I think it's the flavor of the day. We'll see if it's the flavor of the year. We'll see if guys are committed to their guys getting hit."
While the run-option may just be a fad, it is a justified one. No one can argue the legitimacy of the performances by Robert Griffin III, Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick, as all three led efficient units for their respective clubs in 2012; with the Niners reaching the Super Bowl. However, their success can also be tied to their own physical talents which make the system plausible in the professional game.
There is little reason for Pittsburgh to consider such a change. None of the three teams previously mentioned were running such an offense before they acquired their 2012 quarterback. The closest was San Francisco, as Alex Smith began the year as their starter, but their offense took a definite shift when Kaepernick took the helm. For the Steelers to consider such a change, such a passer would need to be drafted; and then an entire offensive roster would have to be rebuilt to accentuate the quarterback.
Ben Roethlisberger has led Pittsburgh to three Super Bowls during his career, and he never needed a run-option offense to do so.
The Steelers may be undergoing a complete renovation, they are not prepared for a complete reconstruction from the foundation up. The team may not be functioning at optimum levels, but it is far from irreparably broken.