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Art Rooney Reveals Key Reason for Arthur Smith Hire



Pittsburgh Steelers Offensive Coordinator Arthur Smith
Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney II speaks from Acrisure Stadium Tuesday, July 12, 2022 -- ED THOMPSON

The Pittsburgh Steelers interviewed just three candidates when they decided on Arthur Smith to be the club’s next offensive coordinator, and they had shown reported interest in just five individuals for the job.

What stood about Smith so much that when Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin heard he was planning to go interview for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers job, he canceled his travel plans to make sure the Steelers got Smith?

As president Art Rooney II explained this week, the answer was his experience. Smith was an offensive coordinator for two years with the Tennessee Titans and was the offensive play-caller in his three seasons as the Atlanta Falcons head coach.

That’s more NFL play-calling experience than almost anyone else that was hired around the league in this cycle. Only Greg Roman, who signed up for a second stint with Jim Harbaugh and the Los Angeles Chargers, had more.


Atlanta Falcons: Zac Robinson (0 seasons)
Carolina Panthers: Brad Idzik (0 seasons)
Chicago Bears: Shane Waldron (3 seasons)
Cincinnati Bengals: Dan Pitcher (0 seasons)
Cleveland Browns: Ken Dorsey (2 seasons)
Las Vegas Raiders: Luke Getsy (2 seasons)
Los Angeles Chargers: Greg Roman (11 seasons)
New England Patriots: Alex Van Pelt (0 seasons)
New Orleans Saints: Klint Kubiak (1 season)
Pittsburgh Steelers: Arthur Smith (5 seasons)
Philadelphia Eagles: Kellen Moore (5 seasons)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Liam Coen (0 seasons)
Tennessee Titans: Nick Holz (0 seasons)
Washington Commanders: Kliff Kingsbury (4 seasons)

Rooney said that experience was the separator for Smith in a field of mostly unproven candidates.

“Arthur has great experience, obviously as a coordinator in Tennessee for a few years and as a head coach,” Rooney said to KDKA-TV. “That’s great experience, and he just seemed like a good fit. Mike was very comfortable with it.”

Rooney also emphasized that the decision and the criteria for deciding on what was important to the team came down to Mike Tomlin. Tomlin had said earlier in the process that experience was important to him this time around. The Steelers’ last two offensive coordinators had been internal hires that had no NFL play-calling experience.

“Head coaches hire their coordinators,” Rooney explained. “To the extent Omar and I could be helpful, we tried to be, but it’s Mike’s hire.”

RELATED: New Steelers OC Arthur Smith Sees ‘Perfect Cultural Fit’ with Team

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February 9, 2024 3:34 pm

That final paragraph’s the scary part. Tomlin’s judgement has not been great.

February 9, 2024 11:53 pm

You only have to look at the teams in the Super Bowl recently to see that Art Smith & Tomlin’s idea of offense doesn’t win championships anymore.
You have to be able to get the ball downfield and put up points.