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Art Rooney II makes it clear the next OC is Mike Tomlin’s, not necessarily his

The Pittsburgh Steelers are preparing for a new offensive coordinator in 2024, but who they will name as their new play caller is anyone’s guess at this point. The team has formally interviewed three candidates, and likely wants to wait until the Super Bowl is over to make sure they can interview all potential candidates before making a final decision.

While the fans wait to hear who the next offensive coach will be, the team’s president Art Rooney II held court with local media, as is his custom, and he talked about all facets of the team heading into the offseason. One quote, which is illustrated from Bob Labriola, of Steelers.com, tells plenty about the team’s search for their next coordinator on the offensive side of the ball.

According to all accounts, including Labriola, Rooney II made it crystal clear this hire will be Mike Tomlin’s to make.

Why would the owner feel the need to make this type of declaration publicly to the media? Simple. He knows all too well what the perception was of Matt Canada, both in his hiring and his retention. Whether fact or fiction, the public perception is/was Canada was Rooney’s guy, and one of the reasons he was so adamant on him returning in 2023. It also doesn’t help the majority of the fan base believes it was Tomlin who forced Rooney’s hand to fire Canada mid-season last year.

No matter how Canada got the job, or how he lost it, the team president is passing the buck, publicly, to Tomlin. Essentially saying, “Hey Mike, this your guy. You make the hire, and you sink or swim with him, but it’s your call.”

For Rooney, this maneuver make a lot of sense. While Rooney did say he will be in on meetings pertaining to the hiring of the next coordinator, washing your hands of the ultimate decision puts the onus on the head coach. Some might respond to this by saying, “As it should be” yet there has always been a different perception stemming from the Steelers organization. A perception that the owner might be meddling in the business of the team, one he wasn’t very familiar with. Either way, it seems this offseason, from a hiring perspective, could be different.

Be sure to stay tuned to SCN for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the rest of the offseason, and the eventual hiring of an offensive coordinator.

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