Arizona Cardinals: Possibility of payback on Sunday
By Erich Becker
At 10AM on Sunday, the possibility for payback is in the air for Bruce Arians
While he’ll never admit it to the press, after all, it is just another game in a long string of games with the singular goal of being handed the Lombardi Trophy in February, Bruce Arians has to feel a little bit of a flutter as he travels to Pittsburgh to take on his former team, the Steelers.
But the story line here isn’t one of an assistant coach or coordinator taking a head coaching job because of excellent work, as we’ve seen countless times over the years, but one of a coach being forced out under the guise of retirement, but really was a firing.
Mike Tomlin, head coach of the Steelers, released a statement on January 20, 2012 that read:
"Bruce Arians has informed me that he will retire from coaching. I appreciate his efforts over the past five years as the team’s offensive coordinator and for helping lead our offense to new heights during his time with the Steelers. I am grateful to Bruce for contributing to our success and wish him nothing but the best in his retirement."
After spending enough time away from Pittsburgh, Arians was lured back into the league when Chuck Pagano was hired by the Indianapolis Colts. Arians work there as an interim head coach while Pagano battled cancer lead him to a Coach of the Year honor and a new job, the one he holds today, head coach of the Arizona Cardinals.
Arians is 25-12 as a coach of the Cardinals, his offensive aggressiveness, no-nonsense attitude and just-one-of-the-guys demenor has earned him the Uncle Bruce moniker here in the Valley, where his interviews are constantly bleeped.
This “rematch” or “revenge” of sorts will be lost in a mess of early games on Sunday, with Arizona still looking for that signature win that will prove to the doubters that they can match up against teams that don’t roll over and allow them to score 40 points per game.
However, even with rumor to the contrary, Michael Vick will start this game, more than likely showing the Cardinals something they’ve seen before when he was with Philadelphia. Ben Roethlisberger has stated earlier in the week that he’d like to attempt to come back and play against his old OC and Arizona, a team he previously beaten in a Super Bowl and the regular season. Still, this is considered a longshot.
So what does Arians really think about all of this. Returning to a team that he was forced out of after five seasons, and never getting a straight answer out to the media as to what happened until years later? Uncle Bruce will never tell us, to him, he’s worried about the next game, the next man up, the next plan, and the next win. Accepting nothing but perfection from his players.
With back to back double-digit winning seasons in 2013 and 2014 and back to back 4-1 starts to a season with the second best rushing attack in the league and a QB with a rating averaging over 104. Come Sunday afternoon, Arians would like to show the Steelers who they let go, and who knows, maybe another 40+ point game could come along before you know it.