Terry Bradshaw is back to ripping his Steelers over 'fired' coach
The man who quarterbacked the Pittsburgh Steelers to four Super Bowl titles is obviously not afraid to call out his former team.
Terry Bradshaw has been critical of head coach Mike Tomlin and even quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in recent years, particularly when the team seemingly doesn’t live up to its potential.
After another promising season for the Steelers ended abruptly with an upset loss to Jacksonville in the AFC divisional round, the Steelers decided to part ways with offensive coordinator Todd Haley.
Bradshaw questioned why the Steelers would get rid of the man who guided the offense that averaged more yards than any other team in the league last season.
“Haley was a great play-caller,” Bradshaw told the Sporting News last week. “They had great success together. For the life of me, I have not figured out why they fired Todd Haley. Didn’t they put up 42 points against the Jaguars?”
Bradshaw didn’t mention Tomlin by name, but he implied that Tomlin got rid of the wrong coordinator when the team decided to cut ties with Haley.
“It would seem to me more like the head coach has to recognize the people he’s hiring to run that defense aren’t doing the job,” the Hall of Famer said. “Firing Haley made no sense. What did he do wrong? That’s why he was hired right away by Cleveland. It will take a while for [Ben] and the new coordinator to get their rhythm together. Each coordinator sees things differently, so it will be a different way of calling plays in the same offense. We’ll see how fast they adjust to it.”
Haley — who was not fired by the Steelers but did not have his contract renewed — has since signed to be the offensive coordinator of the Cleveland Browns. The Steelers promoted quarterbacks coach Randy Fichtner to replace Haley.
A little more than a year ago, Bradshaw was more direct in his criticism of Tomlin, saying that despite one Super Bowl victory and five division titles in 11 seasons, he didn’t consider Tomlin to be “a great coach.”
“I don’t think he’s a great coach at all,” Bradshaw said on Fox Sports 1. “He’s a nice coach. He’s really a great cheerleader guy. I don’t know what he does, but I don’t think he’s a great coach at all. His name never even pops in my mind when we think about great coaches in the NFL.”
Tomlin reacted a few days later, saying only a select few coaches are worthy of the “great” designation, but he did take offense to being described as a “cheerleader guy.”
“Terms like ‘cheerleader guy,’ to me, maybe fall outside of bounds of critique or criticism,” Tomlin said. “They probably fall more toward the area of disrespect and unprofessional. But what do I know? I grew up a Dallas fan. Particularly a [Thomas] ‘Hollywood’ Henderson fan.”
The Henderson reference is noteworthy, since the former Cowboys linebacker said in 1979 that Bradshaw “couldn’t spell cat if you spotted him the ‘C’ and the ‘A.'”
In the same interview with the Sporting News, Bradshaw suggested the Steelers might be making a mistake if they put the franchise tag on running back Le’Veon Bell at a cost of $14.5 million for next season.
“You signed Antonio Brown. You signed Roethlisberger,” Bradshaw said. “The problem you’re having is that you’re drafting these players that become superstars and there’s not enough money to keep them all happy. It’s hard to find a way.
“The Steelers’ scouting department has always done a great job of replacing people. Bell is important to them, certainly, so if you sign him — and he deserves the money, I don’t question that — but what’s next? What are you going to lose because you sign him? Who are you not going to be able to retain? It’s a tough line. It’s a hard one for the team to figure out, because if you put all your money into three guys, you’re constantly rebuilding elsewhere and it’s hard to have any continuity.”
Bell, for his part, has said he’ll retire or hold out for a full season if the Steelers try to put the franchise tag on him.
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