PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan) — I’m of the opinion that your record is — by far — the most important statistic. It isn’t even close; nothing rivals it. Not points per game or red zone efficiency or time of possession or quarterback rating or anything of the sort — nah, you go out there for the sole purpose of winning any way you can. Wins and losses. Those are what people remember.
So, by extension, I’m of the opinion the Steelers are a darn good football team at 7-2 headed into their Thursday Night affair against the Tennessee Titans.
But I will concede this much: Ben Roethlisberger and Todd Haley need to get beyond the petulance. They need to move past the cantankerous feelings they seemingly have for one another. Or, at the very least, keep that stuff in house and not let it play out for public consumption.
You see, even as this season (again, the Steelers are 7-2) has largely been a success, it feels like the quarterback/offensive coordinator dynamic has been one of the hottest topics all the way back to camp. Heck, it seems like their relationship has been a hot topic ever since Haley came into town, replacing Bruce Arians (no secret someone who was close with Ben) in 2012.
Everything came to a bit of a head last weekend in a did-he-or-didn’t-he moment when Haley was shouting on the sideline toward what he insists was a Steelers assistant coach but what fans insist was Roethlisberger.
There were f-bombs, there was lip-reading, there was good old Steelers drama.
Recently on his radio show and other media availabilities, Roethlisberger has taken to referring to Haley as “Coach Todd” and also making darn sure to point out when it was Haley — and not he — who had a moment of indecision or poor decision that managed the offense to stumble. Furthermore, Roethlisberger has also pointed out that he’d like to run the quarterback sneak more and also go more no-huddle.
Both of those latter comments were met with Haley saying quizzically, upon told of them, “Ben said that?”
Yeah. Ben did. To the media first it seems. I’m not blaming Ben in the least, not blaming either one of these guys to be sure, but rather pointing out what appears to be an obvious communication breakdown (or lack of communication at all) between two pretty darn important members of the organization.
And, again, if you judge by the record this has been a very good football team this season.
Who knows what will happen in tonight’s game or in the aftermath. Who knows if the Steelers will win or lose or if the offense will continue to stammer or finally have that breakout.
What I do know is this: Ben and Haley, whatever angst they do have for one another, should try to brush it aside or — at the very least — hide it better. It makes for great stuff to talk about in my business but I’m wondering when it will eventually hurt this team. This situation seems to be a simple one of two strong-willed men who don’t like to be wrong and definitely don’t like to cede control over any situation.
Maybe, just maybe, both will realize a little give and take between them could be the best thing for everyone involved.
Colin Dunlap is a featured columnist at CBSPittsburgh.com. He can also be heard weekdays from 5:40 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Sports Radio 93-7 “The Fan.” You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out his bio here.