Is Pittsburgh Steelers Todd Haley To Thank For Munchak?
Nov 17, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley looks on against the Detroit Lions during the first quarter at Heinz Field. The Pittsburgh Steelers won 37-27. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
One of the biggest offseason moves for the Pittsburgh Steelers this offseason was the acquisition of former Tennessee Titan head coach, Mike Munchak. Munchak has the potential to elevate this anemic offensive line into a solid force to be reckoned with in 2014. Does Steeler Nation have Todd Haley – of all people – to thank for that?
Munchak had been with the Titans for the better part of 30 years – as a player, as an offensive line coach, and lastly as a head coach. Munchak went 22-26 in three seasons as the head honcho and could not get the team to the playoffs. Though Bud Adams was loyal to the future Hall of Famer, Munchak just wasn’t a fit as a head coach in Tennessee.
Once Munchak was let go, the Steelers were very quick and aggressive in getting Munchak to join the Steelers offense as the next offensive line coach. Though it was a step down for Mike, it appeared there weren’t many options, and the Steelers organization was a good place to go. But was the Steelers front office enamored with Munchak from the very beginning? It doesn’t appear so according to Ian Rapoport from NFL.com
Sep 15, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Munchak on the sidelines against the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Rapoport said this in a retweet of an article citing Todd Haley praising the new line coach. Of course (and as usual) Rap did not cite a source for this and never really confirmed that Haley did indeed fight for Munch, meaning that the front office may not had been as hot for Munch as folks might think. What did Haley have to say about his new coach?
"Really nobody was happier when Coach (Mike) Tomlin, Kevin Colbert and Mr. Rooney were able to pull off getting him to come on board. He’s a great teacher. He’s great at what he does, the best in the league in my opinion. He seamlessly transitioned into our staff. He’s a stud… Not all great players are great coaches. But he’s definitely one of those great players that transitioned into being a great coach. The head coaching experience is a benefit because he doesn’t just see it from his position group or his perspective. He sees the big picture, which I take pride in doing, having been there. He is a very good teacher that believes in hard work, like we all do. Great players want to be coached. They want to be pushed to see how good they can be, and these guys are eating it up."
There’s no question that Haley respects and is stoked for Mike Munchak to be coaching on this team. But the question still looms if Haley had to heavily persuade Tomlin, Colbert, and Rooney to make an appealing offer to Munchak. Or did the front office work hard to get Munch to agree to a contract as appears to be insinuated in Haley’s statement when he says “able to pull off.”
That’s very different from Haley ‘fighting hard’ for the new coach. Haley gets dogged a lot (pun intended), and I think a few folks who strongly dislike the Steelers offensive play caller will dislike even more hearing that Haley might have played a strong hand in getting Mike Munchak as the next offensive line coach.