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NFL Coaching Job Security, Cowher Has It (1 Viewer)

wannabee

Footballguy
Job Security Hard to Find in NFL, but Cowher Has It

Steelers Coach Was Hired in 1992

By JIM LITKE, AP Sports

No other NFL coach looks or acts like Bill Cowher on the sideline. That's why the camera spends so much time framing his mug. Even after 14 seasons, Cowher's expressions are so entertaining, it's a wonder his jaw doesn't have its own TV show.

That face isn't why Cowher got the Pittsburgh job, of course, nor why he's held on to the same one longer than any other member of the pro fraternity. The best record in the NFL since 1992, a string of respectable showings in the playoffs and a Super Bowl appearance are the reasons for that.

Still, without an owner who is patient and loyal - and Dan Rooney is both, almost to a fault - Cowher wouldn't have become the poster boy for NFL job security, a TV fixture as recognizable as Homer Simpson. Chuck Noll, Cowher's predecessor, wasn't nearly as telegenic, but with Rooney's backing, he stuck around for 23 seasons.

Not that any coach gets too comfortable these days. A week ago, on a day known in league circles as "Black Monday," four coaches were fired, bringing to eight the number who began this regular season in charge somewhere, but won't be around for the next one. Three of them made the playoffs a year ago, which prompted Cowher to say during the week leading up to the game, "You realize we're in a performance-now business."

But after Pittsburgh pounded AFC North rival Cincinnati 31-17 to wrap up the wild-card weekend, job security was the last thing on his mind.

"There was a lot that was being said leading up to this game, none of which I want to get into. We understood," Cowher said, "that this was a rivalry game."

Small wonder the Bengals were so eager to measure themselves against the Steelers. The rivals had met 71 times since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970 deposited them in the same division, but never before in the playoffs, due to a postseason drought that stretched 15 years in Cincinnati.

In one of the more interesting historical footnotes, among Cowher's first hires after he got the Pittsburgh job in 1992 was Marvin Lewis, his counterpart Sunday on the Bengals' sideline. Cincinnati, coincidentally, had an opening that same year and hired David Shula. He struggled to win a quarter of his games, and Bruce Coslet and **** LeBeau, who held the job before Lewis became the Bengals' head coach in 2003, didn't fare much better.

A better attitude wasn't the only upgrade since Lewis' arrival. Known for his miserly ways, Cincinnati boss Mike Brown borrowed a page from the Rooney family playbook and plowed some cash back into the franchise. After two stabilizing 8-8 seasons, the Bengals were conducting their affairs like a real professional organization and playing in a new stadium to boot.

They kicked off this season with four straight wins, and beat the Steelers in early December, a win that all but locked up the division. It also prompted Cincinnati receiver Chad Johnson to boast, "Times have changed, you know? Like black-and-white TVs, and then along comes color. It was Pittsburgh and now it's Cincinnati.

"That's the way it's probably going to be for a while now," Johnson added, "so everybody just get used to it."

Instead, the Steelers tore off four straight wins to claim the wild-card slot, a run that brought them back to Cincinnati as that rarest of road warriors - a 3-point favorite. Then they caught a huge - if unfortunate - break when Bengals Pro Bowl quarterback Carson Palmer went down with a bad knee on the second play of the game. But they made their own luck the rest of the way.

Behind a stiff defense and a punishing running game, trademarks of Cowher's run in Pittsburgh, the Steelers scored 27 unanswered points. One score came on a flea-flicker, off a direct snap to receiver Antwaan Randle El, who ran right and threw back across the field to quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who then heaved a 43-yard TD strike of his own to a wide-open Cedrick Wilson.

The camera predictably zoomed in on Cowher's wide smile, just as it did later in game to capture the coach's scowl when a similarly high-risk trick play backfired down near the goal line. Despite the different results, both plays showed Cowher's well-earned comfort level on the job.

Most coaches run plays like that only in the most desperate situations, afraid of the second-guessing they invite. Cowher's teams, on the other hand, take their cues from their coach. They never play scared. He's made wacky calls a trademark of his game plans, so much so that the Bengals had seen enough to put together their own highlight reel dating to the beginning of Cowher's tenure in Pittsburgh.

If they're smart, the Colts, who play host to the Steelers next week in Indianapolis, are rewinding their version even now. Cowher didn't promise anything special, but he's got a history.

"We're just going to go to the next game where they send us and we're going to try to find a way to win this next game," he said.

Jim Litke is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at jlitke@ap.org

01/09/06 04:16 EST

 

jetpack

Footballguy
I, for one, am happy that Cowher is lock and load. Sure, he hasn't had the Super Bowl successes of his predecessor Noll, but he also hasn't had a roster of Hall of Famers either. During his first fourteen seasons Noll had 10 winning seasons. During his first fourteen seasons Cowher has had 11 winning seasons. Steeler fans are spoiled indeed.

 

Cookiemonster

Footballguy
Love the way he runs his football team, and hats off the the Rooneys who have the patience and insight to get a good coach and not bounce him because of a bad season or two.

 

mattmillen

Footballguy
Love the way he runs his football team, and hats off the the Rooneys who have the patience and insight to get a good coach and not bounce him because of a bad season or two.
Rooneys are class act. Just wish the Fords in Detroit could emulate them.
 

BGP

Indians Fever
I believe in having the highest expectations. That is the only way to get the most out of ourselves and others around you. The concept of accepting the fact that Cowher hasn't won the big game is completely foreign to me.I would rather have had my Cleveland Browns all these years, with all the turmoil, than the Cowher Steelers. Why? Because its better to start fresh with new people and fail than to stick with the same guy and continue to fail. The Browns are trying to improve. I can respect that. I don't think the Steelers are trying to improve. They are content with coming in second place.

 
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Cookiemonster

Footballguy
I believe in having the highest expectations. That is the only way to get the most out of ourselves and others around you. The concept of accepting the fact that Cowher hasn't won the big game is completely foreign to me.

I would rather have had my Cleveland Browns all these years, with all the turmoil, than the Cowher Steelers. Why? Because its better to start fresh with new people and fail than to stick with the same guy and continue to fail. The Browns are trying to improve. I can respect that. I don't think the Steelers are trying to improve. They are content with coming in second place.
How many division titles? Failing? :unsure:
 

Banger

Footballguy
I believe in having the highest expectations. That is the only way to get the most out of ourselves and others around you. The concept of accepting the fact that Cowher hasn't won the big game is completely foreign to me.

I would rather have had my Cleveland Browns all these years, with all the turmoil, than the Cowher Steelers. Why? Because its better to start fresh with new people and fail than to stick with the same guy and continue to fail. The Browns are trying to improve. I can respect that. I don't think the Steelers are trying to improve. They are content with coming in second place.
lol, you are funny.
 

Cookiemonster

Footballguy
I believe in having the highest expectations.  That is the only way to get the most out of ourselves and others around you.  The concept of accepting the fact that Cowher hasn't won the big game is completely foreign to me.

I would rather have had my Cleveland Browns all these years, with all the turmoil, than the Cowher Steelers.  Why?  Because its better to start fresh with new people and fail than to stick with the same guy and continue to fail.  The Browns are trying to improve.  I can respect that.  I don't think the Steelers are trying to improve.  They are content with coming in second place.
lol, you are funny.
Can't blame him for hatin'. Browns fan.
 

Godsbrother

Footballguy
No one is accepting the fact that Cowher hasn't won the Super Bowl. Just because the Steelers are sticking with Cowher doesn't mean they are content with being second best. They believe that a coach that can get you in the playoffs 10 out of 14 years has a better chance to go to the Super Bowl than some of the yahoos being given head coaching jobs in the NFL. And had it not been for 2 ridiculous passes thrown by Neil O'Donnell to wide-open defenders, Cowher more likely than not would already have a Super Bowl victory.The Brown's front office is continually in turmoil because they haven't been able to find a good head coach. They've been firing coaches left and right not because they haven't won the Super Bowl but because they haven't been able to post winning seasons. I have family in Cleveland and they would be thrilled to have a team that could win more than 5 or 6 games in a season, let alone make the playoffs. Heck, they consider a win against the Steelers a Super Bowl victory.The Browns are one of the worst run organizations, if not THE worst. Nothing else needs to be said.

 

Evilgrin 72

Distributor of Pain
I believe in having the highest expectations. That is the only way to get the most out of ourselves and others around you. The concept of accepting the fact that Cowher hasn't won the big game is completely foreign to me.

I would rather have had my Cleveland Browns all these years, with all the turmoil, than the Cowher Steelers. Why? Because its better to start fresh with new people and fail than to stick with the same guy and continue to fail. The Browns are trying to improve. I can respect that. I don't think the Steelers are trying to improve. They are content with coming in second place.
Yeah, it sucks to be one of the best teams in football every year. I'd rather be 4-12 every year too.
 

Godsbrother

Footballguy
I believe in having the highest expectations.  That is the only way to get the most out of ourselves and others around you.  The concept of accepting the fact that Cowher hasn't won the big game is completely foreign to me.

I would rather have had my Cleveland Browns all these years, with all the turmoil, than the Cowher Steelers.  Why?  Because its better to start fresh with new people and fail than to stick with the same guy and continue to fail.  The Browns are trying to improve.  I can respect that.  I don't think the Steelers are trying to improve.  They are content with coming in second place.
Yeah, it sucks to be one of the best teams in football every year. I'd rather be 4-12 every year too.
Now now, EG, let's be fair. The Browns were 6-10 this year, time to pop open the champagne bottles in Cleveland!
 

jetpack

Footballguy
I believe in having the highest expectations. That is the only way to get the most out of ourselves and others around you. The concept of accepting the fact that Cowher hasn't won the big game is completely foreign to me.

I would rather have had my Cleveland Browns all these years, with all the turmoil, than the Cowher Steelers. Why? Because its better to start fresh with new people and fail than to stick with the same guy and continue to fail. The Browns are trying to improve. I can respect that. I don't think the Steelers are trying to improve. They are content with coming in second place.
My god... do you understand the concept of competitive sports???
 

Frenchy Fuqua

Footballguy
I believe in having the highest expectations.  That is the only way to get the most out of ourselves and others around you.  The concept of accepting the fact that Cowher hasn't won the big game is completely foreign to me.

I would rather have had my Cleveland Browns all these years, with all the turmoil, than the Cowher Steelers.  Why?  Because its better to start fresh with new people and fail than to stick with the same guy and continue to fail.  The Browns are trying to improve.  I can respect that.  I don't think the Steelers are trying to improve.  They are content with coming in second place.
LOL. This coming from a guy with Indians "highlights" in his signature. Has a Cleveland pro sports team ever won a big game? BGP didn't you move to Tampa and become a Bucs fan?
 
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Franknbeans

Footballguy
I believe in having the highest expectations. That is the only way to get the most out of ourselves and others around you. The concept of accepting the fact that Cowher hasn't won the big game is completely foreign to me.

I would rather have had my Cleveland Browns all these years, with all the turmoil, than the Cowher Steelers. Why? Because its better to start fresh with new people and fail than to stick with the same guy and continue to fail. The Browns are trying to improve. I can respect that. I don't think the Steelers are trying to improve. They are content with coming in second place.
I'll hand it to you BGP, you are a master baiter
 

Evilgrin 72

Distributor of Pain
I believe in having the highest expectations.   That is the only way to get the most out of ourselves and others around you.  The concept of accepting the fact that Cowher hasn't won the big game is completely foreign to me.

I would rather have had my Cleveland Browns all these years, with all the turmoil, than the Cowher Steelers.  Why?   Because its better to start fresh with new people and fail than to stick with the same guy and continue to fail.  The Browns are trying to improve.  I can respect that.  I don't think the Steelers are trying to improve.  They are content with coming in second place.
Yeah, it sucks to be one of the best teams in football every year. I'd rather be 4-12 every year too.
Now now, EG, let's be fair. The Browns were 6-10 this year, time to pop open the champagne bottles in Cleveland!
Good point. My bad, apologies to all the Browns fans on this board. If you 2 guys could pass that sentiment along to the other 7 Browns fans that don't post on FBG, I'd be much obliged. I'd like to make this right with absolutely anyone I disparaged with my off-hand, inaccurate comment.
 

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