In Tuesday’s blog, Mike L makes a very fair point about Bill Cowher. Why all the fuss about a coach who blew a lot of big games? It is a valid criticism. Cowher is not perfect. But here is a list of reasons why Cowher is great for your franchise:
1) HE IS A TOUGH COACH BUT A PLAYER’S COACH. It is not easy to do both. To be demanding and simultaneously have your players empty their tank for you. You get that with Cowher. You cannot put a price tag on that in the NFL.
2) HE IS ABLE TO DO MORE WITH LESS. Cowher’s teams would get decimated by free agency and seemingly rebuild OVERNIGHT. How? Because he took mediocre players and made them play well, took good players and made them very good and/or great. We saw plenty of his players leave the Steelers and then never regain the heights they had in Pittsburgh. They played as a team and were always much better than the sum of their parts.
3) REESE + COWHER = Championship Contention. The thinking is that with a good GM like Reese that is able to deliver the talent, that the combination would be really potent.
4) BONAFIDE QB + COWHER = Championship Contention. Cowher did not have a bonafide QB until Roethlisberger, and then once he did, he went over the top. O’Donnell, Stewart, Tomczak. My goodness, he was the only coach who made Tommy Maddux into an NFL QB! The Steelers went 15-1 with Big Ben as a rookie and 11-5 and Super Bowl in Y2. Not bad. With Eli Manning and Jerry Reese, Cowher is worth getting excited about.
5) HE’S 52 YEARS OLD. There is clearly another run left in him.
6) NOT YOUR 40 POINT COACH. How many times has Tom Coughlin’s Giants teams given up 40 points in a single game? We like to cite this metric because it is symbol of abdication by the head coach, that the team was simply not ready to play and did not belong on the field. According to our statistics of the Giants back to 1966, it really should never happen more than once in a season, if that often. For Cowher it happened 5 times in 15 years. And it never happened more than once in a single season. Juxtapose Coughlin- 9 times in 6 years, with the shiner this season.
One of my pet peeves is mocking the “grass is always greener in the neighbor’s yard,” implying that coveting what the competition has is usually a big mistake. Bill Cowher is not God’s gift to coaching. He won’t guarantee anything except a team that does not underachieve. We have seen two successive seasons of underachievement here in NY. My opinion, summarized by the 6 points above, is that Cowher knows how to get the most out of his players and that he will be able to put the franchise in a VERY GOOD POSITION to win another title with Eli Manning and Jerry Reese.