The Pittsburgh Steelers, perhaps more than any other team in the NFL, are stuck in their ways. And while predictability can become a fatal flaw for organizations, the Steelers have stayed the course and cashed in on the benefits of consistency since the 1970s, winning six Super Bowls in the process. On Wednesday, Pittsburgh announced the promotion of Omar Khan to general manager and, according to multiple reports, will welcome back Andy Weidl as his right-hand man and assistant GM.
Omar Khan-Andy Weidl duo takes Steelers’ longstanding philosophies into new era
Khan, who previously served as the Steelers‘ director of football administration, will take over for longtime GM Kevin Colbert. Weidl, who began his NFL career in Pittsburgh’s scouting department in 1998, returns home after working for the Philadelphia Eagles for the past six years.
Khan has been in Pittsburgh for the past 21 years after starting his career in New Orleans as a football operations exec for the Saints. He has climbed the corporate ladder with the Steelers, going from longtime Colbert mentee to his successor. Under Colbert, Khan learned the ropes and became ingrained in the Steelers’ longstanding ideologies, which date back to the impressive Super Bowl runs of Chuck Noll. The Steelers have only had three head coaches and four GMs since Noll was hired in 1969.
Khan is a homegrown leader, and he falls in line with the Steelers’ progressive mindset, as he was born to an Indian father and a mother from Honduras. Only 45, Khan allows Pittsburgh to move forward with Colbert’s foundation while still inviting a new decision-maker to lead the charge.
Khan, who was in the draft room in April, was part of the brain trust that selected University of Pittsburgh QB Kenny Pickett with the 20th overall selection. Khan has a background with Pickett due to his local experience and the draft process, and he also has a relationship with head coach Mike Tomlin. Those are two very important, established bonds that Khan can lean on as he looks to lead the team into a new era.
Khan and Weidl started their careers around the same time in the late 1990s. Weidl spent two years with the Steelers as a player personnel assistant before moving to the New Orleans Saints. Khan and Weidl didn’t cross paths during their respective early tenures with the Steelers, but they were both raised in their philosophies.
Weidl’s experience around the NFL will be an important asset for Khan, Steelers
Adding Weidl as Khan’s right-hand man is significant because Weidl has bounced around the league over the past 20 years, getting different perspectives from different front office leaders. He has worked under GMs like Tom Donahoe, Randy Mueller, Ozzie Newsome, and Howie Roseman.
Weidl won a Super Bowl ring with the Philadelphia Eagles as the team’s assistant director of player personnel in 2017. He started in Philadelphia in 2016 and worked his way up to vice president of player personnel, replacing New York Jets GM Joe Douglas in the role.
The Eagles and Ravens are both successful franchises that had consistent success with Weidl in-house. He won Super Bowl rings as an evaluator for both franchises and learned from their top decision-makers during those tenures. Weidl can bring new ideas to Khan and present them as a way of marrying the Steelers’ “way of life” with the outside influence of what made the Ravens and Eagles successful during Weidl’s travels.
The Ravens, under Newsome and current GM Eric DeCosta, have routinely crafted brilliant defensive depth charts while also thriving on building creative offensive personnel groupings. The Eagles, under Roseman, have focused heavily on the value of the QB depth chart and building from the trenches on out. Both of those philosophies can help bring new understanding to the Steelers’ front office and perhaps shake up the foundation of the post-Ben Roethlisberger era.
Colbert left Khan and Weidl with the tools to build the Steelers in their own image while still offering a relatively formidable foundation to build upon. The Steelers haven’t had a losing record under Tomlin, and with Pickett now in place as their long-term successor for Roethlisberger, Khan and Weidl can get to work with well-stocked shelves and a similar mindset.