By Chaz Bolte AFCNT.com Writer (Originally published on January 6th, 2010)
Yesterday ESPN Radio 1250 AM Pittsburgh personality Ken Laird broke the story that Steelers Offensive Coordinator Bruce Arians would soon be fired. He cited inside sources that told him the personnel move was imminent. However since the news broke there have been questions on the legitimacy of the report. The Steelers, who today fired offensive line coach, Larry Zierlein, have publicly said that no decision will be made until Coach Tomlin conducts all end of season exit interviews this week. So does Laird know something we don’t or is he risking his reputation by making a prediction and hoping it comes true so it looks as if he was the first to know?
Many Steeler fans have been quick to blame Arians for the teams struggles this season. Many have called for his removal, but if you really look at the situation was the defense not more at fault? Steeler nation loves the run first philosophy that has dominated Pittsburgh football for the past 4 decades and Arians pass happy offense goes against the fans wishes. However the Arians led offense produced the Steelers first 4,000 yard passer this season in Ben Roethlisberger and produced a pair of 1,000 yard receivers in Hines Ward and Santonio Holmes. Arians situational play calling was often questionable and his third and short sweep at the end of the Chiefs game may have been the worst play called this year. Overall, Arians had an average year. He is popular with many of the veterans on the offensive side of the field and especially with Big Ben. If he were to be fired it would not come as a shock to most but to think it is mandatory is foolish.
Laird may have jumped the gun to further his own career by banking on the notion that they will find a new coordinator in the off season. But, he also risks his reputation amongst the Steelers inner circle who may now see him as someone they cannot trust with information. If it turns out to be true Laird may prove to be an above average journalist who got the scoop on a shakeup far before everyone else. If it is false Laird’s reputation as a journalist will be comparable to that of TMZ gossip columnist. Either way Laird has gambled his career on this story and those who gamble rarely come out ahead.
About the Author: Chaz Bolte is a 2008 Graduate of Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania where he earned a B.S. in Communication ~ Emerging Technolgy and Multimedia. At SRU he served as host of the weekly sports show “Pittsburgh Talk” on WSRU~TV and as host of “The Chaz Bolte Radio Hour” on WRSK 88.1 FM. He is currently the Director of Broadcast and New Media for the Pittsburgh Phantoms of the American Basketball Association.