Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians spent 2001-03 in Cleveland as Browns offensive coordinator, which only makes him appreciate more the organization the Rooney family has built.
Arians' resume also includes stints at Virginia Tech, Mississippi State, Alabama, Temple, the Kansas City Chiefs, the New Orleans Saints and the Indianapolis Colts. On Super Bowl media day Tuesday, Arians gushed over the atmosphere at Steelers headquarters, even though chairman emeritus Dan Rooney, now the U.S. ambassador to Ireland, isn't there as often these days.
"I’ve been in about 14 different cities and colleges, and there’s nothing like the Rooneys,'' Arians said. "The only person that even comes close was (Chiefs founder) Lamar Hunt. I had the great honor of working for Mr. Hunt and Carl Pederson and Marty Schottenheimer, but Mr. (Dan) Rooney is special. I look forward every day to go down and get coffee to see Mr. Rooney.
"I really miss him now that he’s in Ireland. I truly do, because our players love him. He’s out there all the time with them. He’s walking through the locker room at all times. You don’t see that in any other organization.''
Arians illustrated his point with how the Steelers' headquarters is built, a stark contrast to Browns headquarters. In Berea, the locker room and meeting rooms are downstairs, with the coaches' and executives' offices upstairs.
"Our offices are all on one level,'' he said. "When players come upstairs, it’s front office, sports information, coaches, teaching rooms. They’re all on the same level and it’s family. I think that’s what separates this organization. You hear a lot of people talk about chemistry and you talk about family, this is a family-operated (organization).
"Mr. and Mrs. Rooney come in from Ireland, they’re eating at the hotel on Saturday night with the players, and the guys can’t wait to see them. I can’t wait to see them. It is special. I don’t know if anybody else can replicate it, because he got it from his father and they’re passing it down through the family. Everybody wants to do it the Steeler way, but I don’t really know if you can.''
On Wednesday, according to ProFootballTalk.com, Arians took a shot at former coach Butch Davis during the Browns' playoff game meltdown against the Steelers after the 2002 season. Pittsburgh rallied from a 24-7 third-quarter deficit to win 36-33 at Heinz Field, despite Browns quarterback Kelly Holcomb throwing for 429 yards and three touchdowns.
"Our head coach lost the game,'' Arians said Wednesday, via PFT. "He called off the dogs on defense. You just don’t let Tommy Maddox sit there and go against a prevent defense. He basically fired [defensive coordinator] Foge Fazio at halftime. Foge was blitzing. We had them beat. They knew we had them beat.''
At halftime, Davis took over the play-calling on defense, Arians said.
"I don’t care what anyone says. I was on that sideline,'' Arians said, according to PFT.