The Todd Haley era is over in Pittsburgh.
This Just In: Todd Haley will not return next season as the Pittsburgh Steelers' offensive coordinator. (via ESPN and multiple reports) pic.twitter.com/5wCdyEPU43
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 17, 2018
On January 17 it was confirmed by ESPN that offensive coordinator Todd Haley for the Pittsburgh Steelers will not be coming back for the 2018 NFL season. Haley, who has been the offensive coordinator in Pittsburgh for six seasons, was rumored to be clashing with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger earlier on in the season, and with his contract expiring soon this does not come as much of a surprise. Roethlisberger revealed on his radio show Tuesday that he wasn’t allowed to audible out of Haley’s play calls and quarterback coach Randy Fichtner had to be brought down to the sideline to ease the tension between the two. With Haley being let go the Steelers will be looking in house to replace the newly vacant offensive coordinator position.
Two early candidates to replace Haley are coach Fichtner as well as offensive line coach Mike Munchak. Fichtner, who seems to be the early front-runner for the position, began his NFL career with Pittsburgh and has been with the organization since 2007. Although he has only been a receivers and quarterbacks coach, he had success at the college level as an offensive coordinator at Memphis University and Arkansas State University, but it remains to be seen if that will translate to success in the NFL. Fichtner seems to have a great relationship with Ben Roethlisberger which could be the deciding factor in hiring the long time Steeler coach. Mike Munchak, however, brings another variable in the equation for Pittsburgh to make things a little more interesting.
Munchak has years of experience in the NFL, not only as a coach, but also as a player. Munchak’s career started off in 1982 where he was selected 8 overall by the Houston Oilers, a team he would go on to play with for his entire career. He was selected to nine pro bowls, four all-pro selections, and was named to the 1980 all-decade team. From there Munchak started his coaching career one year after his pro career ended as an offensive assistant for the Oilers. Munchak went on to become the Oilers/Titans offensive line coach and then was promoted to head coach from 2011 to 2013. The former Tennessee head coach was brought in to Pittsburgh in 2014 as the Steelers offensive line coach and has held the position since then.
The Steelers will have to make a decision on filling the hole Haley leaves with his departure, but there are far worse options than the two presented to them now. With both coaches already being in the system Pittsburgh’s high-powered offense should bring the same noise they did in 2017 straight into 2018 regardless of who will be calling the plays.