Bruce Arians says he got fired in Pittsburgh because he was too loyal to Ben Roethlisberger
(Photo by Damian Strohmeyer/Getty Images)
Bruce Arians had a one-on-one interview with Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times the morning after leading the Buccaneers to a 31-9 victory over the Chiefs in the Super Bowl. Arians talked about a myriad of things during the interview, but one thing that stood out from a Steelers perspective was when he talked about how he got fired following the 2011 season.
“I’ve been accused that that is a fault," Arians said when asked about being loyal to players. "Got fired in Pittsburgh because I was too loyal to Ben [Roethlisberger]. If that’s a problem, you’ve got the problem. I don’t have a problem. I get very close to my quarterbacks. My dad taught me one thing: You have your name and your loyalty, and those are the most important things you have.”
The reason for Arians' departure in Pittsburgh was because the Steelers wanted Roethlisberger to get rid of the ball quicker and not take as many sacks. The Steelers looked at it as a move to preserve Roethlisberger's career for the long run. The Steelers brought in Todd Haley as the new offensive coordinator to replace Arians in 2012 and Roethlisberger wasn't really thrilled with the move at the time, as he was close with Arians.
HBO’s Real Sports did a piece on Arians in June of 2016, and in it, Arians and his wife, Chris, spoke bluntly about his exit in Pittsburgh.
“(Mike Tomlin) said, ‘I’ll get you your bread.’ And I said, ‘Well, I’m heading to the lake. Just gimme a call,” Arians said in the interview with Andrea Kramer. “I got a call on Monday and said, ‘I can’t get you the money.’ I said, ‘Okay.’ He said, ‘No, I can’t get you a contract.’ I said, ‘Are you firing me?’ He said, ‘No…’ ‘Well… it’s just a matter of words, Mike. Okay. If I don’t have a contract, I’m fired.’ And he said, ‘I’m going to fly down and talk.’ Said, ‘Why waste the money and the time?’ And so that was it. Walked upstairs and told my wife. And I’ve never seen her cry. And she cried.”
Arians' wife, Chris, was very disappointed in the Steelers by firing her husband.
“I had admired Mike Tomlin so much. And I really thought he was a coach who really cared about his people. And for him to do this, well, I felt very disillusioned,” Chris Arians said.
Like his interview with Farmer, Arians mentioned to Kremer that the reason he got fired by the Steelers was his relationship with Roethlisberger, along with his style of offense.
Since "retiring" in 2012, Arians has been named Coach of the Year twice, once with the Colts and the other time occurring with the Cardinals. And he is now a Super Bowl champion as a head coach after leading the Buccaneers to the franchise's second Super Bowl title. In addition, Arians' four playoff wins with the Buccaneers just in the 2020 season alone are more than Tomlin's three playoff wins since Arians left the Steelers organization in 2012.