COMMENTARY | It was pretty clear to the people who surrounded the Steelers organization during the 2012 offseason that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was pretty upset when the team parted ways with offensive coordinator Bruce Arians. They replaced the now-Cardinals head coach with former Cardinals OC Todd Haley.
In his first year under Haley, Roethlisberger looked like an MVP candidate through the first half of the season. Through the first eight games of 2012, Big Ben threw 16 touchdowns to just four interceptions while the Steelers averaged three touchdowns per game.
But after suffering an injury in week nine against Kansas City, Roethlisberger slowed some, throwing 10 touchdowns and four picks in his final five games.
Roethlisberger still managed to have a pretty nice season in his first year with Haley, but history dictates that this year, his second with the offensive coordinator, should be one of the best of his highly-distinguished career.
Take, for instance, the case of Kurt Warner.
Warner arrived in Arizona in 2005 as a backup and spot-starter for the team. Haley took over the offensive coordinator duties with the Cardinals in 2007 and immediately made the 36-year-old his starter under center.
Warner's first season as a full-time starter in Arizona was a work of art in itself. He threw 27 touchdowns and 17 interceptions in just 11 games. He finished 5-6 as a starter in 2007.
But it was his second season under Haley that is most important. In 2008, Warner threw 30 touchdowns, his most since 2001 when he was with the Rams. He also threw only 14 interceptions and upped his completion percentage to 67%.
Better still, Warner and Haley led the Cardinals to their first Super Bowl appearance in franchise history, which they would lose to the Steelers.
Following the impressive playoff run and Super Bowl appearance, Haley was hired as the head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs, taking over a franchise that was floundering with a new quarterback in Matt Cassel.
Cassel and Haley's first season together in 2009 was average to say the least. Cassel threw 16 touchdowns and 16 interceptions while the Chiefs sputtered to a 4-12 record. But it was in the second season, Cassel and Haley would seem to have a revelation.
In 2010, the second season of the Cassel/Haley duo, Cassel threw a career-high 27 touchdowns and a career-low seven interceptions. Kansas City went 10-5 under Cassel and Haley, winning the AFC West and heading to the playoffs for the first time since 2006.
In the end, it didn't work out between Cassel and Haley, or the Chiefs and Haley, or the Chiefs and Cassel. But it's hard to deny what Haley has done with two different quarterbacks on two different teams and in two different situations.
Now, in his third chance working closely with a team's quarterback and passing game, Haley has the opportunity for the first time to build on an already established good first season with Roethlisberger. If Big Ben can play the way he did for the first eight games of 2012, Steelers' fans should be talking playoffs and possibly even MVP.
But right now, there's a lot of good history on Roethlisberger and Haley's side.
Dan Snyder has been covering the Pittsburgh Steelers for over a year now for outlets such as the Bleacher Report. Check out more of his stuff there and follow him on Twitter @dsnyder34
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