Everyone suspected it and a few weeks ago Dan Marino turned to his CBS Pre-Game show partner Bill Cowher and asked him who he was taking with the first overall pick. Eluding to the open opinion that Cowher will end up in Charlotte coaching the Panthers. Cowher laughed, everyone laughed, and then he changed the subject. Bill Cowher has made no voice on his intentions. Until now.
“I’m open to listen to opportunities,” Cowher said in an online chat at USAToday.com, via Michael Hiestand of USA Today. “I’m very comfortable at CBS. I’ll keep all my options open. And I’ll only answer those questions at the end of the season. I’m not going to comment on any hypothetical situations until theentire season is over.” – Profootballtalk.com
And with that, teams across the NFL who are either looking for a coach or considering a new head coach suddenly are crunching numbers to see if they can afford what Cowher will demand. Despite the likely retention of Tony Sparano and Jeff Ireland, don’t think for a moment that Stephen Ross isn’t crunching numbers as well. Due diligence is out the window on this one folks, these teams are serious.Rarely does a coach come on to the market with a pedigree such as Cowher’s. More often than not a high-profile coach is only available because he got fired from his last gig or prematurely retired. In the case of Cowher, his “retirement” wasn’t due as much to wear from the game as it was his children and wife who passed away. Time has allowed Cowher to heal and now he is ready to come back to the NFL.
Cowher will not be a simple monetary decision for any owner, he will want full control. In the case of Miami that means that both Jeff Ireland and Tony Sparano would be fired as well as most of the coaching staff. It would also mean the end to any remaining consultations between the team and Bill Parcells if that has not already dried up and gone away.
Ross has the drive to go after Cowher and if he so chooses could immediately be the front runner because he would stay out of Cowhers’ way. BC would simply coach and buy the groceries to form his team. Cowher would also immediately sell tickets which is something that Ross needs now more than anything else. At the same time, he will be hard pressed to rattle the Bill Cowher cage without presenting an issue with his incumbent GM and HC.
No other coach on the market right now is worth firing your GM and HC over at the stage that Ireland and Sparano are at and even Cowher may not be enough to sway Ross to do so. There will be at least 5 teams taking strong looks at Cowher and what he could mean to a team and the Dolphins may quietly be one of those standing behind the doors.
Here are a few other teams who may have interest and what might happen.
Carolina Panthers - The media front runner is a hop and a skip from Raleigh, NC where Cowher calls home. However, the Panthers may not be able to meet the control requirements that Cowher will demand. He won’t give that up to stay close to home. While they will push hard for Bill Cowher, I’m no longer sure they land him without giving up a ton of control of their own.
Washington Redskins - Again, just a few hours from Cowher’s home, Dan Snyder would give Cowher the keys to the franchise and while Mike Shannahan is still there, the Skins have done nothing since his arrival…outside of being an NFL side show.
Denver Broncos - The Broncos are a legit landing spot for the coach. They are used to having a coach run the show so Pat Bowlen wouldn’t be opposed to surrendering the power to him.
Minnesota Vikings – Another solid potential landing spot. Zygi Wulf would likely have no problem axing GM Rick Spielman and handing it all to Cowher.
Dallas Cowboys - Jerry Jones will kick the tires but there is no hope of landing Cowher…Jerry is just way too involved with the team for that marriage to work.
Cleveland Browns - Eric Mangini still has a job but if Cleveland could land Cowher they would not hesitate firing the lunkhead Mangini. This would be a major score for Cleveland and very unlikely that Cowher would tarnish his Pittsburgh image by joining the Browns.
Where do you think Cowher will end up?