Dick LeBeau Will ‘Always Be Grateful’ For His Time In Pittsburgh

I find it sort of baffling that we haven’t talked more about the fact that the Pittsburgh Steelers are tomorrow going to face for the first time since his departure their former and longtime defensive coordinator, Dick LeBeau, who was one of the people most responsible for beefing up the organization’s trophy room in the 2000s.

Of course, we’re the ones who do the writing around these parts, so it’s on us that it hasn’t been discussed much, but in our defense, we are working on a short week. Still, I think anybody who’s been a fan long enough—especially those who might have grown up watching LeBeau’s defenses—understands the enormity of his return to Pittsburgh.

While the octogenarian was not ‘refired’ the way that Bruce Arians was before him, it does seem clear that the organization was ready, perhaps more than ready, to move on from LeBeau after 13 seasons following the 2014 campaign.

There had been a verbal agreement in place for years that then-linebackers coach Keith Butler would succeed him as defensive coordinator. Butler’s contract was up at the time, and the defense had been regressing, so the change was predictable, perhaps even relatively amicable.

Said LeBeau recently of his tenure in Pittsburgh, “my time with the Steelers, what the organization did for my life, I had so many good things happen for me there. I’ll always be grateful to Pittsburgh and the Rooney family”. But he added, “we’re in Nashville now”.

Still, when the man was inducted into the Hall of Fame, as one of the great cornerbacks of his generation, he didn’t spend as much time talking about his playing days as he did the players he was leading to perhaps Hall of Fame careers in their own rights, like Troy Polamalu and James Harrison.

“I was fortunate to be able to coach so many great players”, he said recently, talking especially about the 2008 championship team. “The defense, they set records that I don’t know if there will ever be those numbers again”.

“The numbers they put up are actually equal to the numbers we put up when I played in the 1960s, and the game is so different now. So I’ll always remember that bunch”, LeBeau concluded.

‘Coach Dad’ currently has his Titans defense ranked 16th in the league in total yardage, while Pittsburgh sits second. The Steelers have allowed the second-fewest points per game, Tennessee 11th-most. The Titans have allowed 17 receiving touchdowns and four rushing touchdowns to Pittsburgh’s eight and six.

The Steelers are tied with the second-most sacks in the league, while the Titans have the third-least. Yet typical to LeBeau’s teams, they are the only team to allow fewer than 20 explosive passing plays. Some things just never seem to change.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.

  • Brenton deed

    Press talk … he’s pissed. SOC

  • Steve

    LeBeau was always very cautious with his Defence. He Blitzed a few times, but Butler does it much more. He also Kept a safety in reserve, while Troy created havoc. Many people wanted more blitzing, while LeBeau didn’t want to get burnt.

  • Beaver Falls Hosiery

    It will be interesting to me to see how the Steelers offense fares against the Titans using Dick LeBeau’s standards when he was here: stop the run; tackle the catch (limit YAC) and no explosive plays. Hope I got those right.

    Matthew Marczi had also mention these other benchmarks of his: 3.7 yards per rush; 4.7 yards per play; 5.7 yards per pass.

    He probably has new ones but will use this as a measuring stick of the offense in addition to recording a W of course.

  • Steve

    Sure wish the Steelers would have cut down on the Explosive plays last week.

  • Beaver Falls Hosiery

    two too many to my liking.

  • Steeler Nation!

    Bum Phillips said long ago there’s 2 kinds of coaches: 1. Those that Have been fired. 2. Those that will be fired.
    I think Lebeau is too smart of a man-and too good a man-to be bitter. He had a great run here. Legendary defenses.

  • Beaver Falls Hosiery

    Here are the Titan’s coaches with Steeler links:

    Mike Mularkey
    Head Coach
    Steeler player 1989-91 coach i1996-2003

    Dick Lebeau
    DC/Asst HC
    Steeler DC 2004-14 coach 1992-96

    Russ Grimm
    OL Coach
    Steeler coach 2001-06

    Nick Eason
    DL Coach
    Steeler player 2007-10

    Keith Willis
    Asst DL Coach
    Steeler player 1982-91

    Lou Spanos
    LB Coach
    Steeler coach 1995-2009 Burgher

    Deshea Townsend
    DB Coach
    Steeler player 1998-2009

  • Beaver Falls Hosiery

    To compare the Steelers 2017 season production against LeBeau’s goals:

    Steelers averaging 3.6 yards per rush (3.7)
    Steelers averaging 5.5 yards per play (4.7)
    Steelers averaging 7.1 net yards per pass (5.7) [net yards per pass = (passing yards – sack yards divided) divided by (passes attempted + times sacked)]

    stats from Pro Football Reference

  • Anthony Palmerston

    If the week was longer the Dick Lebeau articles would have been more plentiful.

  • PittShawnC

    In the time since our last era ended, I have seriously had a “chicken or the egg” type debate with myself.

    Did Dick Lebeau make Troy Polamalu or did Troy Polamalu make Dick Lebeau?

    The debate rages in my head, lol.

  • Cwallace

    Lol. I remember that. That dadgum Bum.

  • Cwallace

    Wow. I knew of 4 but dam Dick you got every steeler except the ones playing. This is going to be a very interesting game. Good stuff … You always keep it real man! GoSteelers

  • Cwallace

    And that’s what scares me…that second td was flat disgusting! Everything..tackling, awareness,speed ..that was vintige football follies. Every scrub team in the league sees it to. How you get beat by 15 yards is on every team we play bulliton board from here on out except maybe our division because they don’t look at film.lo..forget about Pats …after your awesome stats and me just looking at Brissett freeze the secondary for the 10th time on tape. this game is scary. Comn Butler…show daddy what you’ve learned.