Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Todd Haley Shuffle: Twitter Edition

Twitter has changed the way sports fans interact with each other and receive news and information about their teams. There is no doubting this. Twitter is a great resource. For the most part, if you've been around social media for a while, you have a pretty good sense of who to trust and who is reliable for information. Generally speaking, if someone works for a major network, chances are their reports are trustworthy. But the crap really hit the ceiling fan this afternoon when NFL Network's Ian Rapoport tweeted that a "source" (later revealed to be Todd Haley's agent) said Todd Haley was not interviewing for the Arizona Cardinals head coaching job after the Cardinals had asked the Steelers permission to interview Haley.

As luck would have it, shortly thereafter Steelers Depot who is pretty much all over everything Steelers related on Twitter, dropped this helpful reminder to Steelers fans who were either ready to press the panic button or heading down to the PartyMart.


Rapoport responded with a somewhat defensive tweet that he has since deleted. And then about 10 minutes later, the other shoe dropped from the Steelers beat reporters.

Now, say what you will about the Steelers beat reporters. I've been critical of their analysis of how the team plays and the articles they have written just as much as the next guy. But when one of them reports something, there's a very good chance they're right. This left Rapoport with little choice but to out his source in an attempt to prove the legitimacy of his report.

Rapoport stayed on the defensive and summarized what he knew. To be honest, Rapoport is a good guy and it seems to me like he got stuck in the middle of a bad situation here. He summarized what he knew and from whom:

And then about two hours after this all went down, "Steelers assistants" became....

 That sound you just heard is the echos of Rapoport crapping his pants. Honestly, I can't blame him for reporting something that he thought was solid information. If someone's agent says they are not going to interview for a job, then you would assume that is a trustworthy source. However, luck was not on the side of Ian Rapoport today, and he was one-upped by not only the Steelers beat reporters, but also Art Rooney II.

I was a fan of the Steelers hiring Todd Haley and through the first half of the season it seemed like the Haley offense was building something great. We were getting into third and short situations. We were converting third downs at a rate over 50%, something only two teams had done in the last 5 seasons. We were dominating time of possession by over 10 minutes per game. We were running the ball. The offense was clicking. Then Antonio Brown got hurt against the Giants and Ben Roethlisberger went down against the Chiefs. After that, the offense was never the same and returned to a lot of the "schoolyard" principles that we saw under Arians. The running game faltered and the offense sputtered to the finish. On the whole, Haley's first season as offensive coordinator was a bit underwhelming. I was not a fan of Bruce Arians' offense but I can't say that Haley's offense was an improvement over Arians. At the end of the year, it just seemed like "more of the same." I won't be shedding tears if Haley leaves for Arizona, but I do think our offense can be successful with Haley calling the shots.

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