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83-Steelers-43
07-26-2006, 08:55 AM
Smizik: Cowher a Super genius ... until next big loss
Wednesday, July 26, 2006

By Bob Smizik, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

How do you go from buffoon to genius in 60 minutes?

Win a Super Bowl.

It is most humorous that the very people who previously ridiculed Bill Cowher -- the ones, in fact, that howled in anger and frustration when the Rooney family sensibly extended his contract -- are now so eager to lavish praise on him. They can barely utter a sentence about Cowher without the word "great" being included.

Greatness cannot be established by one game. It can only be established by a body of work.

Cowher had an excellent body of work before the Steelers won the Super Bowl in February against the Seattle Seahawks, which makes it understandable that winning such a momentous game might change his public perception. But he's not a genius today and he wasn't a buffoon before the Super Bowl.

He was and is an excellent coach. Let's wait until the end of his career before we confer greatness on him.

He has a large challenge in front of him beginning this weekend when the Steelers open training camp. If he can win a second Super Bowl, he'll go a long way toward establishing his greatness. If the Steelers falter, the very same people who are calling him great today will be ridiculing him. Some, in fact, will be demanding that he be replaced as coach. That's the nature of coaching, particularly coaching the Steelers where the fan base is so involved it allows emotion to overrule logic.

The absurdity of the anointing of Cowher with greatness is that if a few officiating calls in the Super Bowl went the other way -- a situation over which he had no control -- the Steelers could have lost. He might have done absolutely nothing different within the context of that game, but his reputation would have taken a massive hit. He would have been labeled, perhaps forever, as the coach who couldn't win the big game because, again, of circumstances over which he had no control.

The following is presented not to diminish the Steelers' Super Bowl victory but to show how easily the game could have gone the other way. The Super Bowl determined that the Steelers were the best team in football. It did not determine that Cowher is a great coach or that Mike Holmgren of Seattle is a lesser coach.

To refresh your memory:

If the back judge hadn't called offensive pass interference on Darrell Jackson against Chris Hope in what was then a scoreless game late in the first quarter, the Seahawks would have taken a 7-0 lead and the entire complexion of the game could have changed. It was the right call -- Jackson did push off -- but if the call hadn't been made it hardly would have been the biggest mistake made by an official.

Early in the fourth quarter, with the Seahawks losing by four, a Matt Hasselbeck to Jerramy Stevens pass to the Steelers' 1 was nullified by a holding call. If that call is not made, and lesser holds have been overlooked, the Seahawks probably score.

That's two touchdowns officiating calls took away from Seattle.

To this day it could be argued whether Ben Roethlisberger broke the plane of the goal line on the Steelers' first touchdown, which came on third down from the 1 early in the second quarter. It was an impossibly close call that went the Steelers' way. It almost as easily could have gone the other way.

That could have been one less touchdown for the Steelers.

Again, the point is not to diminish the Steelers' accomplishment but to show the absurdity of pronouncing greatness on Cowher when he might have coached exactly the same game and lost.

It brings to mind all the verbal abuse Cowher took after the Steelers lost the AFC title game to New England in 2001. It was almost as if Cowher dropped the winning pass while all alone in the end zone. In fact, if two Steelers linemen had held their blocks on a field-goal attempt that was blocked and returned for a touchdown, the outcome of the game might have been different. Cowher would have been praised, although he would have coached exactly the same game that he was ridiculed for losing.

Cowher was an outstanding coach before the Super Bowl and he'll be that regardless of the outcome of this season. Just don't try to tell that to many Steelers fans if he doesn't win a second Super Bowl.

What do you think?

ARKIESTEEL
07-26-2006, 09:04 AM
Who was the folks mad at Cowher? I always thought Cowher was a good coach maybe a bit to old fashion in his offense but a great coach none the less

83-Steelers-43
07-26-2006, 09:06 AM
There were many. While I never called for his firing I started to doubt him after the 6-10 season and I wasn't exactly thrilled about the contract extension. For the record, I have no problem or shame admitting it. In my opinion, it was understandable. What Smizik decides to leave out of his article was that there were many in the media who also started to doubt Cowher. National and local media. Not just the fans.

BlackNGold203
07-26-2006, 09:16 AM
Read this piece this morning.....

He is correct in several aspects...A coach's standing as "genius" or "bust" is often not in the coach's control....When the Patriots won their 1st Super Bowl....if they dont rule in the Pats favor on the tuck rule...or if Viniteri doesnt make that 45 yard FG in a blizzard....then Belichek loses. There are turning points in every season...for every team...turning points that are not in the coach's control...

Winning the super bowl does not make Cowher a great coach...he already was a great coach...all it served to do was improve other's perception of him. As "great" as he is now...as much as a "genius" as he is now...if this team starts out 3-4...the same people heaping praise on him now will be calling for his head...

mark it down..it's happened before...it will happen again

83-Steelers-43
07-26-2006, 09:20 AM
I never thought of Cowher as a horrible or bad coach. I've always thought of him as a great coach who could never get it done. In my opinion, you play the game in order to win Super Bowls, not playoff titles.

Overall, I think the fans in this city were very patient with Cowher but after that 6-10 season there were many who started to doubt him and understandably so. It's not as if Cowher was only around for four or five years and then the 6-10 season occured.

Once again, I never called for his firing, but I was doubting him and the extension did not make any sense at the time. No shame.

stlrtruck
07-26-2006, 09:25 AM
You know it's amazing that the moment a team seems to be going down the tube, that their are fans that want to abandon ship and call for the head of the coach. When in fact, the coach can not play the game. The players have to produce in order for things to happen.

It also amazes how one week the media can be singing the praises of coach and team but the next week they are all a bunch of bumbling idiots (including the media).

As a fan, I call for the head of a player before I call for the head of a coach.

Livinginthe past
07-26-2006, 09:30 AM
Cowher reminds me a little of Peyton Manning as a coach.

Regular season warrior but could not put a winning stretch together in the playoffs to being home the big one.

Until last season.

Peyton still has much praise lavished on him - as the best QB of his generation - apparently all he has to do is win one SB and that will tick the final box for his ascension into greatness.

No matter about all the previous occasions where he and his offense imploded under pressure in the postseason.

Cowher does have some great stats for sure, but I feel his regular season success could also count against him funnily enough - because he has won only a single title.

Its often been offered in counter argument that he has only just got a QB worthy of the title, and maybe this is a fair statement.

But I would ask whose fault it is in the first place that he had guys like Kordellia Stewart running around back there in the first place.

Cowher is definitely one of the best coaches over the last 6-8 years, but if he wants to move into greatness he needs to win a few more rings - starting with this year when they will have the biggest of bullseyes on his back.

NM

83-Steelers-43
07-26-2006, 09:41 AM
But I would ask whose fault it is in the first place that he had guys like Kordellia Stewart running around back there in the first place.

This is why I don't put the full blame on the players. On many occasions Cowher publicly backed Kordell and his liking and his appreciation for him.......for eight years.

By no means am I putting full blame on Cowher but when all is said and done, it comes down to coaching in my opinion. In all sports, who normally get's the boot, the coaching staff or players?

This is not a Cowher bashing thread nor do I want it to end up as one. But my main point is that it was understandable for fans to doubt Cowher and the possibility of us winning a Super Bowl under his helm. Smizik makes it sound like it was crazy to doubt him and this team. After a number of playoff losses and then a 6-10 season what exactly did Smizik expect? In my opinion, it was perfectly normal and understandable. Keep in mind, big difference in starting to doubt a coach and calling for his head.

For those of you who never doubted Cowher, more power to you. For those who won't admit it, well...as long as you know. As for Smizik, he has a tendency of wearing black and gold sunglasses when dealing with all three sports teams in this city. I'm sure he never had his doubts.

Livinginthe past
07-26-2006, 10:10 AM
This is why I don't put the full blame on the players. On many occasions Cowher publicly backed Kordell and his liking and his appreciation for him.......for eight years.

By no means am I putting full blame on Cowher but when all is said and done, it comes down to coaching in my opinion. In all sports, who normally get's the boot, the coaching staff or players?

This is not a Cowher bashing thread nor do I want it to end up as one. But my main point is that it was understandable for fans to doubt Cowher and the possibility of us winning a Super Bowl under his helm. Smizik makes it sound like it was crazy to doubt him and this team. After a number of playoff losses and then a 6-10 season what exactly did Smizik expect? In my opinion, it was perfectly normal and understandable. Keep in mind, big difference in starting to doubt a coach and calling for his head.

For those of you who never doubted Cowher, more power to you. For those who won't admit it, well...as long as you know. As for Smizik, he has a tendency of wearing black and gold sunglasses when dealing with all three sports teams in this city. I'm sure he never had his doubts.

I would think it would be only natural to have had your doubts about Cowher.

If he had won a ring or two and then endured a dry spell then he would have deserved a degree of loyalty and faith.

As it was, he got close to the big on numerous occasions but then made questionable playcalling decisions in those games - and showed a lack of a plan B once things began to go wrong.

Personally, I think that the way the Rooneys have laid the foundation in Pittsburgh, that most competent coaches would find themselves in the postseason on a reasonably regular basis.

NM

X-Terminator
07-26-2006, 10:17 AM
Cowher does have some great stats for sure, but I feel his regular season success could also count against him funnily enough - because he has won only a single title.

Interesting that you bring this up...

Bill Cowher = the Bobby Cox of the NFL?

steelcity984
07-26-2006, 11:17 AM
Bobby Cox is the man. Most of the time, the Braves are NOT the best team in their division but they win it anyway (until this year). This is half the reason they don't win in the playoffs; the other half being that they don't have a power pitching staff. (and over the last two years, they don't even have a reliable one.)

Haiku_Dirtt
07-26-2006, 02:00 PM
There were many. While I never called for his firing I started to doubt him after the 6-10 season and I wasn't exactly thrilled about the contract extension. For the record, I have no problem or shame admitting it. In my opinion, it was understandable. What Smizik decides to leave out of his article was that there were many in the media who also started to doubt Cowher. National and local media. Not just the fans.

Concur. During my trips back to Pittsburgh I'd flip on whatever subpar sports radio I could find and you'd think the Steelers were the Houston Texans. I'd check the local stock of curtain rods to be sure some mass suicide was not underway - over Cowher.

What I saw from Cowher teams in the runs up to the AFC Chapionship game(S) was an incredible amount of arrogance - a kind of bully attitude. But it wreaked of immaturity. Those Steeler teams thought that once they got there all they had to do was go through the motions.

SMACKED DOWN.

The Rooney's 'allowed' Cohwer the time to mature as an NFL HC. He was too young when he started but he knew the game. With maturity that arrogance became confidence. And that bully attitude became...well a bully attitude.

Mix in brilliant drafts and you get XL. I was one who did not want to see Cohwer get cut loose because I thought he was maturing still AND who in the hell could they possibly bring in over the last four years that could have done better. Ask Marv Levy how it feels.

The Rooney's ain't paying what Jerry Jones pays.

pucho58
07-26-2006, 02:23 PM
I had my doubts with Cower. I felt he was like Marty. Play good in the regular season but choke in the playoffs. Yes,I wanted him fired everytime he lost an AFC championship but by the following season I'm happy to have him as our coach. This season I will be yelling for his head again if we do not repeat :chuckle:

Black@Gold Forever32
07-26-2006, 02:35 PM
Well a Super Bowl win was the only thing missing in Cowher's Hall of Fame career. Now thats done. But yea I started to think before last year that maybe Cowher needed to change teams to finally get that Super Bowl win. Change is good for some people. Its also rare for a coach in pro sports to coach this long in just one city for this many years. Plus before last year when the Steelers were 1-4 in AFC title game and all of them games were in Pittsburgh. I can't blame any fan for thinking that maybe the Steelers just can't it done under Bill Cowher. It wasn't a knock on Bill Cowher. It was a fact until last year.

But I have never stopped being a fan of Bills Cowher's. Really he is the only coach I know. I started watching football at the end of Chuck Noll's career. I remember some of those years. But I remember Bill Cowher's entire career as coach of the Steelers.

Ambridge
07-26-2006, 03:43 PM
I think it's fair to say that the majority of Pittsburgh fans have always liked Bill Cowher.
The fans that started jumping "The Cowher Ship" (I was one of them) the past few seasons (up until last year) might have been mad at him for the lack of success in past playoff games were more frustrated at him than anything.
I know when Cowher held up the Lombardi Trophy I felt really good for the guy and clapped out loud for him and then I realized that's all the fans ever wanted to do was just see him raise the Lombardi and bring another Superbowl victory back to Pittsburgh.
Now that fans got what they wanted after so many years and so many tries Cowher will get all the fans back on his side that once doubted and criticized him.

SteelerFanInCA
07-26-2006, 04:03 PM
I've always been a big fan of Bill Cowher. He is definitely the class of the league. I was starting to get the sense that maybe the author of this article is a closet Seahawk fan. :cool:

OX1947
07-26-2006, 05:13 PM
Who was the folks mad at Cowher? I always thought Cowher was a good coach maybe a bit to old fashion in his offense but a great coach none the less

Morons who dont think and understand that Cowher turned a horrible QB into a MVP canadiate for a couple of years, went to a Super Bowl and was 65 yards away from winning it with Neil O'donnell and a crackhead running back. Morons who dont understand that Cowher doesnt have control of a QB when he throws into triple coverage in the end zone. Morons who dont know that he never had a real QB the first 12 years of his coaching career.

You're telling me that if Tom Brady came in or Big Ben came in in 94, Cowher wouldnt have won 3 or 4 super bowls by now? Anyone here know what a great genius Belchunck was when he was in Cleveland??? NO, because he didnt have the main tools at the right time, at the right positions.

I hope we an go back to back this year and really cement his legacy as one of the best.....

SteelerzGirl
07-26-2006, 05:37 PM
I never wanted Cowher gone. I wanted Kordell and Tommy gone. I think the Steelers kept them both around for far too long, but I eventually got my wish. Yay! :smile:

Black@Gold Forever32
07-26-2006, 05:50 PM
I never wanted Cowher gone. I wanted Kordell and Tommy gone. I think the Steelers kept them both around for far too long, but I eventually got my wish. Yay! :smile:

I didn't want Cowher gone also. But I did start think that maybe change would have been good for the Steelers and Cowher. But the last two years changed that thinking. Its rare for a coach to last this long in just one city in pro sports today. But I never stopped being a fan of Cowher's and never will. I have so much respect for that man and I'm so glad he got the monkey off his back.

SteelerzGirl
07-26-2006, 05:53 PM
I didn't want Cowher gone also. But I did start think that maybe change would have been good for the Steelers and Cowher. But the last two years changed that thinking. Its rare for a coach to last this long in just one city in pro sports today. But I never stopped being a fan of Cowher's and never will. I have so much respect for that man and I'm so glad he got the monkey off his back.

Boy, me too, babe! I've always had faith in the Rooneys and Coach Cowher. All one has to do is keep the faith. It always works out in the end. :smile:

Polamalu43
07-26-2006, 07:15 PM
I never thought of Cowher as a horrible or bad coach. I've always thought of him as a great coach who could never get it done. In my opinion, you play the game in order to win Super Bowls, not playoff titles.

Overall, I think the fans in this city were very patient with Cowher but after that 6-10 season there were many who started to doubt him and understandably so. It's not as if Cowher was only around for four or five years and then the 6-10 season occured.

Once again, I never called for his firing, but I was doubting him and the extension did not make any sense at the time. No shame.

yeah i agree, i have always thought cowher was a great coach even though like u said alot of people had doubts since he was always missing that ring in his fingers. but the city of pittsburgh i think had real patience with him, and it finally paid off for PA.

MattsMe
07-26-2006, 07:59 PM
Morons who dont think and understand that Cowher turned a horrible QB into a MVP canadiate for a couple of years, went to a Super Bowl and was 65 yards away from winning it with Neil O'donnell and a crackhead running back. Morons who dont understand that Cowher doesnt have control of a QB when he throws into triple coverage in the end zone. Morons who dont know that he never had a real QB the first 12 years of his coaching career.

You're telling me that if Tom Brady came in or Big Ben came in in 94, Cowher wouldnt have won 3 or 4 super bowls by now? Anyone here know what a great genius Belchunck was when he was in Cleveland??? NO, because he didnt have the main tools at the right time, at the right positions.

I hope we an go back to back this year and really cement his legacy as one of the best.....

That pretty much says it all, good post.

Stlrs4Life
07-26-2006, 09:00 PM
You know it's amazing that the moment a team seems to be going down the tube, that their are fans that want to abandon ship and call for the head of the coach. When in fact, the coach can not play the game. The players have to produce in order for things to happen.

It also amazes how one week the media can be singing the praises of coach and team but the next week they are all a bunch of bumbling idiots (including the media).

As a fan, I call for the head of a player before I call for the head of a coach.


I agree, I don't know how many people I talked to that wanted him fired after the 6-10 season, and after the AFCCG loss to NE.

83-Steelers-43
07-26-2006, 11:10 PM
Once again, having doubts after a 6-10 season (which was plenty in this city) and wanting him fired are completely different. Big difference there...........