Kiesling's overall record at Pittsburgh was 30-55-5. He kept the franchise competitive, but only put together two winning seasons.
Perhaps the biggest blunder in Steelers history is attributed to Kiesling, when as head coach he benched a young Pittsburgh born-and-bred Johnny Unitas through an entire training camp before cutting him, allowing the Baltimore Colts to acquire his rights. However, Kiesling had a reputation for coaching dated techniques and strategies and an intractable personality that pushed away numerous talented players. This occurred particularly during the difficult World War II merger years when he co-coached teams composed of the Eagles-Steelers and Cardinals-Steelers. College talent with better coaching and veterans returning to play football found his methods and attitude intolerable.