This is what we know about a story that continues to grow and may not go away anytime soon.
We know Mike Tomlin has appeared in two Super Bowls, winning one. He's one of the best young coaches in the NFL. We know that Tomlin wanted offensive coordinator Bruce Arians back. Multiple league sources confirm a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette report that Tomlin told his staff Arians was returning. Arians, I am told, then informed friends around the league of the same news.
This is also what we know. The president of the Steelers, Art Rooney II, overruled Tomlin on keeping Arians. Sources confirm this as well. We also know that no one on the Steelers has denied any of this and they've had plenty of opportunity. There's been nothing but extremely loud silence from Tomlin in particular.
Now, in the future, my guess is Tomlin will play the good soldier and at some point say everything is cool. Yet no one will believe Tomlin, and now this has become one of the bigger stories of the offseason.
It's a story that has been lost amid the never-ending post-Super Bowl analysis and the ongoing questions about whether Peyton Manning's neurons are firing properly. It's huge nonetheless. These are the Pittsburgh Steelers, one of the all-time classiest franchises in the history of sports. Steelers owners don't publicly overreact. Steelers owners don't force their Super Bowl winning head coaches to make staff changes (allegedly). When speaking with NFL team officials, no one can remember the last time a highly successful coach was forced to make staff changes by the team's owner (allegedly). That's because I'm fairly certain it has never happened in recent league history.