Think back to when Bruce Arians announced his pseudo retirement and the Pittsburgh Steelers began searching for their next offensive coordinator. Team President Art Rooney II publicly stated he wanted Super Bowl winning quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to take less hits, and a return to the run game. The search ended when Todd Haley, former head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs, was selected to take over the reigns of the budding offensive unit.
Think back to when reports swirled around Roethlisberger and Haley not getting along, and Roethlisberger longing for his friend and former coordinator Arians. The Steelers offense didn't squander until a fluke chest/shoulder injury caused Roethlisberger to miss crucial games and the team to miss the playoffs.
Sure seems like decades ago when looking back. Now not only is Roethlisberger 'all-in' in regards to Haley's offense, but the entire offense seems primed and ready to go for the upcoming 2015 campaign. When asked which aspects of Haley's offense suit Roethlisberger best, his answer was on point.
"All of it," Roethlisberger told Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com in an interview last week. "We work well together. Guys believe in it and believe in each other. That's one of the biggest keys."
The doomsday prophecy group of Steelers Nation will read the above quote and immediately see Roethlisberger saying there was a time when he, and the offense, didn't believe in the scheme and the offense, but those pessimistic views couldn't be further from the truth. Roethlisberger has found a niche with Haley's offense, one which will not only keep him healthy, but will have him putting up incredible numbers as the offense finds it's groove.
"If we can stay healthy and believe in each other and play the best football when we need to and have each other's back -- we need to be a selfless football team (to contend). That's one of the key ingredients to being a championship football team is being selfless and being there for one another."
The team-first mentality is something Roethlisberger and company have been preaching all offseason, and with an offense with play makers such as Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant and Le'Veon Bell it is difficult to get everyone the football to the point where they are happy. Nonetheless, as Roethlisberger details, the success of the team should trump the success of the individual.
"Guys had some amazing individual seasons last year, and we had a really good season on offense in general, but there are always areas we can improve in and get better," Roethlisberger said.
With a defense still searching for an identity, the Steelers will go as far as the offense can carry them in 2015. If the unit can improve on their stellar 2014 season, the Steelers could be on their way to being Super Bowl contenders.