Why did he do it? Why did Mike Munchak decline a second interview with the Arizona Cardinals where he was believed to be the front runner for their vacant head coaching position?
Maybe only Mike and his wife really know for sure, but I believe one of the reasons is Munchak has some unfinished business to take care of.
Mike Munchak is one of the all-time greats, a bonafide Hall of Famer! A nine-time Pro Bowler and a member of the NFL 1980s All-Decade Team. His fiery competitive nature was on full display whenever the ball was snapped between the white lines. He was a loyal and trusted teammate. He didn’t crave the spotlight or accolades, he only wanted to win.
And he still does!
Munchak has undoubtedly accomplished many of the goals he set for himself as a professional football player and coach, but there is one glaring omission. He has never been a part of a Super Bowl Champion. While only speculation, I believe it is the driving force behind his commitment to excellence and his decision to stay in Pittsburgh. He could feel he is close to being a part of something special and doesn’t want to miss it.
Mike Munchak is the answer on a coaching staff full of questions. He is the known commodity on a staff needing to improve their communication, focus, and time management abilities in spite of the recent upheavals.
Munchak has proven to be a leader of men. His players want to play well for him. They realize their success is a direct reflection of him. He treats them like professionals, like men. He offers encouragement and understanding when they struggle, but isn’t afraid to challenge them to play up to their capabilities. He tightropes the fine line between being both a leader and a friend with great results. Mike Tomlin could learn a thing or two when it comes to this.
Mike Munchak has helped turn the Steelers offensive line into a mean, lean, fighting machine! The line used to be considered a weak point on the team. So much so that it was perceived the Steelers were a winning team in spite of the line, not because of it. We all know Ben Roethlisberger likes to hold onto the ball a little too long sometimes, trying to make big plays down the field, but often times he was scrambling for his life after facing immediate pressure right up the middle after a stunt by the defense.
I lost count on how many times one of the Steelers offensive lineman were injured by “friendly fire”. This happened when one lineman fell into the legs of another teammate who was engaged in a block. These injuries often occur when there is improper spacing along the line and a loss of balance due to poor technique causes a player to be knocked backward. These instances have been far less frequent since Munchak took over in 2014.
There may be other extenuating circumstances that ultimately lead Munchak to turn down that second interview in Arizona. Pittsburgh may just seem like home now to the Munchaks. He was born and raised in the great state of Pennsylvania. Maybe loyalty to an organization is just in his DNA, which was on full display during his 31 year relationship with the Oilers/Titans franchise until he was fired from his one and only head coaching position. Maybe somethings are more important than money or prestige to Mike Munchak.
What ever his reasons, I am just happy he is still a valued member of our Steelers Nation!