The League

Emil Steiner
Editor and Blogger

Emil Steiner

The author of NFL Crime Watch and Founding Editor of The League.

Passion of the Chin


If there were a picture in the dictionary next to "head coach" it would be of Bill Cowher. His chin, his stare, his passion could motivate a winning season out of the Washington Generals.

If I were rebuilding a team (ahem... Detroit, Oakland, Kansas City) I'd lay the foundation on the steely acumen of Bill Cowher. Turning around a loser is a lot harder than keeping a winner on track, with all due respect to Barry Switzer and George George Seifert, and in that regard, Cowher's record speaks for itself.

In 1992, he took over the Pittsburgh Steelers from the legendary Chuck Noll. Despite that shadow, he immediately righted the ship improving from 7-9 to 11-5. Pittsburgh's playoff drought snapped immediately as Cowher went on to make the post season six straight years -- his first six years as a head coach I might add.

Age was never an issue for him, as he became the youngest head coach to reach the Super Bowl in 1995, at only 38. In his 15 seasons at the Steelers' helm, Cowher captured eight division titles, made the playoffs 10 times with two Super Bowl appearances and an overall record of 149-90-1. All this without ever having a marquee quarterback, running back or wide receiver (Plax notwithstanding).

But it's not numbers or even the success that I think of when I hear the name Bill Cowher. I think of his passion for the game. I think of him nearly punching a Jacksonville Jaguar as he ran down the sideline to steal one from Pittsburgh, but then restraining himself at the last moment. I think of the tears of grief he shed after losing Super Bowl XXX and the tears of joy after winning Super Bowl XL. That intensity is what separates him from the Shanahans and the Holmgrens and why Bill Cowher is the best NFL coach not currently coaching.

By Emil Steiner  |  May 14, 2009; 12:04 PM ET  | Category:  Coaching , Emil Steiner Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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