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Coaching Pedigrees - we can learn a lot from studying dogs

December 02, 2005 by Guest

�Coaching Pedigrees, we can learn a lot from studying dogs�    By Steel Perch



I have recently started looking into buying a new puppy, a Chocolate Labrador Retriever.  After doing some research, I found that it is very important to learn about the exact pedigree of the dog since bad genetics can lead to a blind or crippled dog only a few short years later.


This got me thinking about NFL head coaches.  Does where they come from make a difference in their chances to win a Super Bowl?  We all know about Bill Cowher�s lineage as a direct descendant of Marty Schottenheimer, but I thought I�d expand on his pedigree a bit further and also take a look at coaches who have won Super Bowls in the past 15 years.


Looking at recent history, 15 of the last 16 years the coach who has won the Super Bowl has had experience at being a champion.  They have all either:

1.)    Won a Super Bowl as an assistant coach or player

2.)    Coached a college national championship team or

3.)    Previously coached an NFL team to a Super Bowl win. 


Mike Shannahan, for example, has been a part of teams that have played in nine conference championship games and six Super Bowls. Bill Cowher has not done a single one of those things listed above.


Bill Cowher played 8 years of football from high school through college (Carlynton HS in Pittsburgh and NC State in college).  He never played in or won a state/national championship during this time at either level.  Thereafter, Cowher played in the NFL for 4 years� His teams combined records were sub .500 and including a 0-2 playoff record.  Bill does not know what it tastes like to be a winner, or what it takes to prepare for a championship game because he�s never had the experience.


Cowher then was adopted by his step-daddy Marty Schottenheimer and anointed Special Teams coach of the Browns.  He spent 4 years in Cleveland where he coached special teams and defensive backs.  He then went and spent ONE YEAR as a Defensive Coordinator for an 8-9 KC Chiefs team, again under Marty.  Cowher�s record while assistant coaching was about .600 in the regular season, 2 - 3 in playoffs, with the ever foreshadowing 2 AFC Championship game losses.


So let�s take a closer look at who really taught Bill Cowher how to coach, Marty Schottenheimer, since he is Bill�s Sire as the case would have it.

Marty has spent 20 years as an NFL head coach�.

Overall Record: 177 - 117
Playoffs: 5 - 12

Marty also had a 6 year career as a player where he was a predictable 1-1 in playoffs with no Super Bowl wins.


Marty combined for 26 years of NFL experience and an eye popping 6-13 playoff record.  In that time he has lost 2 AFC championship games and won ZERO titles, without even so much as one Super Bowl APPEARANCE.  Marty has been in the league for 65% of the leagues seasons since the AFL-NFL merger and the Super Bowl was created.  It�s almost statistically inconceivable for him not to have at least reached one Super Bowl by accident, yet Marty has found a way to consistently miss the big game. 


Another important factor in determining success is to look at other offspring from a genetic blood line.  There are three active coaches who come from Cowher�s lines, his brothers if you will. Jets coach Herman Edwards is 2 and 3 in the postseason in 5 years as a head coach.  His teams have followed the same post season script as Cowher�s and Schottenheimers have.  Ultra conservative predictable game plans that make playoff games almost unbearable to watch. Tony Dungy is 5-7 in the postseason in his 9 years in the league.  The year after he was removed from a very talented Tampa Bay squad, they won a Super Bowl.  Dungy has since moved to the Colts and kept his hands off of the Colts offense, and that may be enough to help him break through to a win a Super Bowl. Add in Lovie Smith and you get 16 total years coaching experience and ZERO Super Bowl wins, only one appearance.


Schottenheimer and his disciples have no Super Bowl wins, and just one Super Bowl appearance, among them in a combined 36 seasons including this year.

Compare that to the championship blood lines of Bill Parcells.  His pedigree is very strong as he and his former assistants Bill Belichick and Tom Coughlin have a playoff record of 25 - 12, with six Super Bowls appearances in 17 postseasons.  Mike Holmgren and former assistants Andy Reid, Jon Gruden, Steve Mariucci and Mike Sherman are 26 � 22 in the playoffs, with four Super Bowls in 24 postseasons. The lines of Bill Walsh are even more impressive as they include some of the guys mentioned above.


We now know Coach Cowher�s sire Marty is a dud of legendary proportions, and his siblings are duds also, but what about Cowher�s offspring?  In Cowher�s 14 years he has had 6 assistants go on to head coaching gigs.  5 got NFL Head Coaching jobs and 1 went collegiate.  Mike Mularkey, Dom Capers, Jim Haslett, Marvin Lewis, Dick Lebeau, and Chan Gailey are the NFL coaches�  They have combined for 24 years of NFL head coaching experience with a depressing record of 157 wins and 200 losses.  The playoff record of these coaches is a predictable 2 wins and 4 losses with ZERO Super Bowl appearances.  The collegiate coach was RON ZOOK, the guy that Florida fans wanted to assassinate and created the ever popular for.  Apparently the Gators fans couldn�t bear a Cowher style team at their Alma matter.  Zook is now happily running the Illinois program directly into the ground.


So if we add everything all up, Bill Cowher has been in football for 31 years from High School thru the Pros.  He has won ZERO championships at any level.  His mentor has 26 years in the NFL with ZERO Championships.  His �brothers� have 16 years head coaching experience with ZERO SB appearances. His offspring have 24 years of NFL head coaching experience with ZERO Super Bowl appearances.  When you add in Ron Zook�s time as a college head coach you come up with over 100 years of coaching lineage and zero championships.  A CENTURY OF FAILURES are the true blood lines of Coach Bill Cowher.  I think it�s time to take this dog out behind the shed, Old Yeller style.


~Steel Perch

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