Steelers lucky Arians was fired only temporarily

It was a little more than a year ago that reports surfaced out of Pittsburgh that Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians had been fired.

Arians was essentially out of a job for a matter of hours until the situation was smoothed over. The Rooney family believed that the offense had gotten away from the running game too much, and there wasn’t a lot of happiness in Pittsburgh with the offense, according to a league source.

Coach Mike Tomlin interceded on Arians’ behalf, per the source. Fast forward to the present and the Steelers are gearing up for a trip to Super Bowl XLV with the offense humming right along, and Pittsburgh once again is running the ball with conviction. Rashard Mendenhall rushed for 121 yards on 27 carries in the AFC Championship Game victory over the New York Jets. On one 60-yard drive that led to a field goal in the second quarter, the Steelers didn’t pick up one yard through the air.

So, the running game is healthy again and now Arians is coming out of contract, giving the Steelers some business to take care of shortly after the Super Bowl. Arians was properly credited with helping Pittsburgh to a 3-1 start when quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was suspended to begin the season. A case can be made in 12 starts it was one of Roethlisberger’s best seasons, too, as he threw 17 touchdowns with only five interceptions.

The Steelers have the ultimate prize in front of them. They’re lucky Arians was on the outs for only a matter of hours. Now, they’ll have to work to make sure he remains, especially with talk of defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau perhaps retiring.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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