Todd Haley orchestrated one of the best and most dangerous passing games in the National Football League when he was the offensive coordinator with the Arizona Cardinals.
When he became head coach in Kansas City, the Chiefs had the No. 1 rushing attack in the league.
Now, as the new offensive coordinator with the Steelers, he said "the emphasis will be on winning," whether that means throwing the ball with Ben Roethlisberger or running the ball "63 times a game."
Haley also said the Steelers offense will retain some of what they did for five years under Bruce Arians. He also said the terminology they used in Arizona and the philosophy he adopted under former Steelers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt will be beneficial with the transition in his new role.
But he also added, "We're going to start with a clean slate and what gives us the best possible chance to succeed."
Haley, 44, who grew up in Upper St. Clair, was introduced to the media today at a noon press conference at the team's South Side facility,
"There's a lot of talk about systems, offense and defense, and I believe you do what gives you the best chance to succeed," Haley said. "If the best chance to succeed is running 63 times a game, you run 63 times a game.
"The transition is always, I don't want to say difficult, but there's an uncomfortable aspect to the newness. But that's not always a bad thing."
Coach Mike Tomlin said today that the transition to Haley's offense is "going to be a challenge," but he added, "We find pleasure in that being a mystery."
Haley went through three offensive coordinators in his 2 ?? seasons as head coach in Kansas City, firing Chan Gailey during the preseason of his rookie year and losing Charlie Weis after one season in 2010. He promoted offensive line coach Bill Muir to that position in 2011.
Curiously, the Chiefs were the lowest scoring team in the AFC and second lowest in the NFL in 2011, managing just 218 points. The Steelers finished 21st in scoring despite having a 4,000-yard quarterback, two 1,000-yard receivers and a running game that averaged 4.4 yards per carry -- its best average since the 2001 season.
Their failure to score more points was pointed up by team president Art Rooney II as a concern during a state of the Steelers address after their playoff loss in Denver.
"There are very high expectations in the city of Pittsburgh," Haley said. "I understand what's expected. That's why I'm excited, to come back and be a part of this great tradition. We have one goal -- to win as many games as we can and to win championships."
Haley said he has not met with Roethlisberger, who had a close relationship with Arians and was not happy when his contract was not renewed. And he is not worried that his reputation as a coach who is not afraid to get in the face and scream at his players will have an adverse affect on the two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback.
"It's about the end result," Haley said. "These guys appreciate that. One thing that I've found out, when they know that's what you care about, they're fine with that. Players want to know you have their best and grandest desires at the top of your list."
Haley has bloodlines with the Steelers because his dad, Dick, was the team's personnel director from 1971 to 1990. He also had a chance to become the team's receivers coach for Bill Cowher in 2004, but he declined the offer to become an assistant coach with the Dallas Cowboys.
"He clearly brings intangibles we really value," Tomlin said. "I talked to a lot of people and did a lot of research, and I was impressed by his resume but also his love for the Pittsburgh Steelers. That was really unique to me.
"I always will be attracted to guys who have an appreciation for the Pittsburgh Steelers and legitimately embrace the standards that are ours."
Said Haley: "All my early memories in life revolved around the Steelers. Those things have stayed with me and are a part of who I am and what I am. In my mind, this is the greatest organization and the greatest team in the NFL, and that comes from the heart."
Gerry Dulac: firstname.lastname@example.org ; twitter: @gerrydulac First Published February 9, 2012 5:00 AM