It was a day of mixed emotions, to be sure.
Bill Cowher did the expected on Friday, and hung up his chin.
Well, you know what I mean.
I've been going back and forth on how I was going to draft this post.
I initially was going to go the way of downplaying Cowher's resignation, and moving onto his possible replacements. I've always been one that feels that pro sports coaches are overrated in the overall reasons for a team's success or failure.
But this post shouldn't be about my opinion about pro coaches, and how that applied to Bill.
This post needs to be about Bill Cowher's accomplishments as coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers for 15 years.
10 playoff appearances, 8 division championships, 6 AFC Championships, 2 Super Bowl appearances, and the Super Bowl XL Championship.
Not a bad run, not bad at all. Matter of fact, no one can touch it in the contemporary NFL.
That equates to a ticket to the Hall of Fame, my friends.
Yes, I'd be remiss if I failed to mention the lowlights;
- The 3 AFC Championship losses at home, boy, those hurt, especially the San Diego game in '95
- The debacle with the failed Kordell Stewart experiment
- Too many kissing incidents (OK, just a joke thrown in there)
But those lowlights are few and far between. You don't get much more successful than Cowher's been in today's NFL.
So why did he go ??
Did money have something to do with it ?? He keeps saying no, and for the most part I tend to agree, but not completely.
I can more clearly agree with the reasoning that he gave during the press conference.
For you young and single folks out there, if you take anything away from reading this post, don't dismiss so quickly the effect that being away from your spouse and children has on a person.
Ask anyone who has been deployed overseas in the military for several months or over a year what it's like to be away from your wife and kids.
Well I'll tell you, as one who's done it, it's terrible, no two ways to describe it.
Not only in the military, but there are hundreds of pro athletes and coaches who are away from their family, albeit not in a military scenario, but away nonetheless.
So I see exactly where Bill is coming from when he said he wants to be with his family. His wife and youngest daughter now live in Raleigh, in their new multi-million dollar home. So I don't think it's foolish at all to suggest that Bill will be away from coaching until his daughter graduates from high school in a couple of years.
And even though he said it wasn't a reason, in my view, Bill was burned out. I think it was apparent in the last couple of years.
He simply shrugged off the bad losses that seemed to accumulate over the last couple of years, such as when they went 7-5 before they went on the remarkable Super Bowl run, or this past year, when they stumbled out of the gate at 2-6, to finish 8-8. Terrible losses, such as the Oakland loss, would have previously brought out a possessed Cowher, one that would ensure you wouldn't see that lousy version of the Steelers again for a long time. Instead, you just kept seeing Bill shrug his shoulders, and give generic answers like "we just have to keep working hard".
So now, Bill's gone. Who's gonna replace him ??
Who CAN replace him ??
One might say, no one can "replace" Bill Cowher, in an emotional sense. The jaw, the spit, the snarl, gonna be tough to replace that.
So how do you find someone ??
I'm gonna throw this out right now.
NOTE TO THE ROONEY'S; PLEASE DISMISS THE NOTION THAT SOMEONE IS A BETTER CANDIDATE TO BE COACH OF THE STEELERS SIMPLY BECAUSE HE'S A WESTERN PENNSYLVANIA NATIVE.
I say that as a Western Pennsylvania native, for those of you who haven't read my profile.
I'm sick of that, I really am, not only with the Steelers, but the Pirates are just as guilty of it. As if where you grew up gives you an advantage in coaching ability. Please.
Who do I "think" will be the next coach of the Steelers ??
My guess is that it'll be Ken Whisenhunt, if he isn't gobbled up by Atlanta or Arizona first, which I don't think will happen, because Whis will give the Rooney's the courtesy of meeting with them before he makes any decision.
The main reason I think it'll be Whis is because of his interaction with Big Ben. That's huge in my opinion. You give Ben a new coach, and you'll most likely have a new offensive coordinator, meaning a completely new offense. The Rooneys do not want to give the Steelers an overhaul.
Russ Grimm is the secondary choice, to me anyway. Yes, he's Cowher-like, meaning he's got that spunk, that snarl. But as I said, if you hire Grimm, you're gonna lose Whis, and that means a new offense for Ben.
The external candidates are interesting as well; Ron Rivera, Mike Singletary, Kurt Ferentz. All of those guys would be excellent choices, I have no doubt of that.
But to me, it's gonna be Whis, because if anything is apparent, after 38 years of having two coaches, it's that the Rooney's like their consistency.
Farewell Bill, and thanks for the memories.