Steelers coordinator’s toughest critic is close to home

Other than that Mrs. Butler how have you liked the defense?
Keith Butler with Minkah Fitzpatrick
Keith Butler with Minkah Fitzpatrick Photo credit © Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

You think Steelers Defensive Coordinator Keith Butler has had it rough lately, not only watching his once-proud defense give up 41 points in two consecutive games but hearing his former players in local and national media question the current players’ efforts?

Apparently, that’s nothing compared to what he has been hearing at home. Seems Mrs. Butler is none too happy herself, although it hasn’t given her husband any sleepless nights. At least not yet.

“I’ve been in this league so daggum long that it’s hard to get a lot of sleepless nights,” Butler said, “(but) it bothers me, yes, I get home and my wife says, ‘you said this about me, you said this about me,’” pointing to different reporters.

“My wife goes blah blah blah blah and I tell her to shut up and she gets pissed off,” he laughed before going for the save. “She’s good, she’s a great lady, I’m lucky to have her as my wife, I really am. I always call her coach when I get home and she tells me what we did wrong, tells me what we should have done here, should have done there, why’d you do this, why’d you do that?”

So I asked Butler if his wife have any good suggestions? “You trying to keep me from eating tonight?” He joked, but once again bailed himself out. “No, she does, she knows a little bit about ball. We’ve been married for 41 years now and she’s been with me since my third year in Seattle. She claims she knows more than she does. I’ve got a son down in Jackson, Tennessee - he’s a high school coach – poor boy; she’ll let him know after the game what he should be doing, too.”

Of course, Butler knows what his defense should be doing and that they’re not doing it, especially against the run, now ranked. “Well, it daggum pisses me out, too, but I try to not look at stuff like that unless we’re in the top 10,” he grinned. “No, I’m not happy about it, anybody who’s a competitor is not happy about being where we are right now against the run and stuff like that.”

Oh, as for his former players who have been highly critical of what the defense has become? “They’re free to say what they want to say,” Butler said. “They did a great job winning the Super Bowl(s) and, yeah, they want us to do well, they’re pulling for us to do well. They don’t want us to do bad. I don’t think anyone wants that, including us, so we’ve got to get better.”

The Steelers will have to get a lot better in a hurry to accomplish Butler’s longstanding goal. “I’ve had a chance to leave here a few times (but) I never have because I felt this was the best place for me to win another Super Bowl. Then Larry Foote goes down to Tampa, calls me up, ‘hahahaha I got 3,’” he chuckled.

Foote, of course, is too busy coaching these days to be criticizing the current Steelers but Butler’s toughest critic isn’t going away. “My wife, she’s about my biggest fan,” he smiled. “She’s always for us, she’d like to win one more Super Bowl, too.