Pittsburgh Steelers: Why Todd Haley Hire Makes Sense

Matt SimonContributor IIIFebruary 6, 2012

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 11:  Kansas City Chiefs head coach Todd Haley stands on the sidelines during a game against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium on December 11, 2011 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

ESPN’s Chris Mortensen is reporting that the Pittsburgh Steelers have found their offensive coordinator in deposed Kansas City Chiefs head coach Todd Haley. Haley was fired with three games left in the 2011 frame, and so looks to be an odd duck of a fit for a franchise that boasts a 12-4 schedule and more Super Bowl rings than any other in the world. 

The hire makes sense because Haley has Steeler football in his DNA. His father, Dick Haley, was highly regarded during his time as a Steelers personnel man.

Haley’s football sensibilities were fundamentally shaped, as a Steelers ball boy and while he watched game film with his father. 

Haley was given his first head coaching job in Kansas City in 2009, after administering a highly productive Super Bowl-caliber offense in Arizona, under head coach Ken Whisenhunt.

Whisenhunt, of course, was Roethlisberger’s first and only other offensive coordinator in Pittsburgh, so Haley’s familiarity with Roethlisberger’s offensive foundation will be key in getting off to a fast start. The ironic twist to the story is that Haley will serve as a kind of “poetic bridge” between current Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin, and the man he beat for the Steelers head coaching job, Ken Whisenhunt. 

Haley has been known for yelling at players, but his bristly edge might be just what Roethlisberger, who was very chummy with ex o.c. Bruce Arians, needs to focus in the next phase of his pro career. He managed Super Bowl champ Kurt Warner in his Arizona days, so he knows how to lead a talented veteran quarterback, like Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger.

Haley might not be perfect, but save for the few potential internal hires, he makes the most sense for an organization and star quarterback who thrive on continuity. The Chiefs play in Pittsburgh in the upcoming frame and will be lead by ex AFC North head coach Romeo Crennel who took over for Haley on an interim basis after his demise and has now accepted the position on a full-time basis.