So Long To Coach Bill Cowher? - By Nick Signorelli

Steelers Fever Exclusive Editorial

Normally with the Super Bowl champion, there are hordes of other NFL teams that want to pillage the free agents on the roster. This is no different with the Steelers this year. Not that we aren't used to it, we lose free agents every year to teams that are willing to send boatloads of cash to these young men. I mean, $31 million to Randle-El? This is just proof that people are willing to pay for someone who has a Super Bowl ring.

Bill CowherSuper Bowl experience cannot be bought. You have to be on a team that has all the components to make the run. Not just through the regular season, but for the sudden-death playoffs in the NFL.

There are now rampant rumors that our beloved coach, Coach Bill Cowher, is thinking of packing up his U-Haul, and heading to North Carolina to retire with his wife and daughter. Though, the family has already re-located (they purchased a home outside Raleigh soon after the Super Bowl), I have to wonder if the coach isn't that far behind.

In the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Cowher was asked if this was going to be his last run, he simply said that he was taking it "year to year". To me, this is one of two options. He is angling for a contract extension that will pay him more than any other coach in the NFL, or he has reached the goal that he always had set for himself, and the team, by winning the ever elusive "One for the Thumb."

If he is truly retiring because he has reached his goals, and he wants to spend time with his family, then more power to him. Over the last 14 years he has earned the right to walk away from the game as a winner. Cowher will go down as one of the best coaches to ever walk the sideline; an intimidating force who showed so much enthusiasm, heart, and pride.

I remember a few years ago, we were playing at Jacksonville. We were going to kick a game-winning field goal with seconds left in the game, when the kick was blocked. As a Jaguar player picked up the ball and started running down the Steelers' sideline, Cowher stepped forward, like he was going to walk on the field, and made the motions that he was going to punch him. In a post-game interview, he said that his emotion got the best of him, but to me that was the kind of fire that I like having on the sideline. Someone that is so into the game that he almost loses control of himself. Someone that is going to walk the line, but know when to not go over it.

If he is simply angling for more money, then he should be ashamed of himself. The last time the Rooneys extended Bills contract was after the 6-10 season a couple of years ago, and the last time before that, was after another losing season. The point is, that with any other team, Bill Cowher would not have survived long enough to take this team to the Super Bowl. The Rooney family, loyal almost to a fault, has the longest tenured coach in the NFL, and I believe the loyalty should go both ways.

But if this is truly the last year for Cowher, we have two in-house candidates, Russ Grimm and Ken Whisenhunt. Both would be very capable replacements, but neither would be Cowher.

Both Grimm and Whisenhunt are specialists on the offensive side of the ball. Grimm would make sure that our team was always prepared in the trenches. We would still have dominant lines, on both sides of the ball.

With Whisenhunt, we would probably turn into a team that would not run first, we would use the weapons that we have, and probably go out and get more. We would have to rely a lot more on Dick Lebeau with the defense, and I really don't think our team would suffer. But there is something about Cowher. He is the face of the Steelers. And if you took a poll in the locker room, I would be willing to bet that, as much each player hates getting spit on, they would all miss Cowher more than any of them would want to admit.