Guest Column: MY VOTE FOR COACH OF THE YEAR (Sorry Still Mill) (by Still Open)
As a life-long psychotic Stiller fan who has only missed one game since 1989, there are certain things that really strike me about the Coach of the Year in the NFL through 11 games:
Bill Cowher is doing his best coaching job to date. The guy isn�t going to teach any of us how to split an atom anytime soon, but has done a phenomenal job on many fronts. He has assembled a staff of all ex-NFLers that understand the game from a player�s perspective. The contributions from Russ Grimm and Tommy Clements might be the single biggest reason for the Steelers success this year. Kordell and Jerome would not be having the seasons they are without the offensive line playing so well.
A lot has been written about "Billy Ball" on this website, and much of the criticism is warranted. To say we have played conservative at times is the same as saying Still Faith likes to suck down an occasional pilsner (by the way, your piece on the Jacksonville game brought a tear to my eye- it sounded like you were describing a typical Sunday of mine). But let me make the following analogy: Bill is like the contractor you hire to build an addition on to your house. Sure, a lot of people say you should hire the flashy corporation to come in with all of their fancy tools and sexy blue prints. They can get the job done faster than anybody else and will stay out of your way, etc. Bill would be the guy who comes in and does the work with the basic hammer and nails approach. Very basic and methodical, but also very clean, and measuring everything twice to ensure a quality finished product. He would also probably take more than a few beer breaks and flirt with your daughter, but that�s another story. The point is, it may be painfully boring to watch Bill work sometimes, but you have to look at the big picture and realize that in the end the finished product is outstanding. Our 9-2 team is well beyond any of our pre-season expectations.
I�ll be the last Stiller fan to say the guy is an X�s and O�s genius. I honestly think he has a pretty average football I.Q. His biggest job is to get 53 millionaires� adrenaline flowing 16 times a year. If you think that is easy you�re flat wrong. Speaking of flat, we have only had one truly bad overall effort all year, and that was in the opener at Jacksonville. Even there, a fumbled snap at the 5-yard line in the rain and a collective brain fart in the 2nd quarter really had nothing to do with Coach. I think his strength is how he manages players and his staff. There are hundreds of examples of that, but I�ll just point out a few recent ones-
- He could have easily gotten on Chad Scott after his performance on Sunday (11 times thrown at, 10 completed for 128 yards) in the weekly press conference. After all, a 4.5 mil/year corner should play better than that- and his performance against Tennessee was largely piss poor as well. Instead, when asked if Billy thought the Jets would go after Chad this week- he said instantly "I hope so." Sure, the two probably had a heart to heart in Cowher�s office this week, but you don�t want to screw with a guy�s confidence in public. I think he learned that with Stew in the past few years.
- Troy Edwards has been pretty much a bust in the �Burgh, but BC has gone out of his way to stroke the guy�s ego in recent weeks. Every time he has a microphone in front of him he�s talking Troy up. "E" has been our MVP for two straight weeks now and is still on the rise.
- Billy has a great way of segmenting the season, and always having a way to make each game seem like the most important one that they�ll ever play. You just can�t go into a season and say, "ok fellas, let�s play 16 good ones here!"
Anyway, I think you get the point. Yes, it�s boring at times to watch the boys "play the percentages" and "stick to what we do best"- but if it gets us to New Orleans that�s good enough for me.
- You owe it to yourself to go to http://www.mcmillenandwife.com/ (see the link on the bottom of Stillers.com's front page, or on the links page). Jesus H. on a popsicle stick. Make sure you look at the pictures of "wife". I better move on before the sweat starts.
- Gildon sucks guys, so back off the Mill. There is no way Clark Haggans couldn�t bring more to the table than this overrated wuss.
- Is there a bigger dick than Brian Billick (ok, Tom Coughlin is up there)? Man, I can�t wait �til 12/16.
- Did a.) somebody castrate Tim Lewis after the Jacksonville game? B.) he voluntarily perform his own vasectomy? C.) Gildong lobby to back off the blitzes and "other stuff where we hit people"??? Come on, we have lost all of our aggressiveness in recent weeks at crunch time and are in jeopardy of getting dinked and dunked to death this week if we sit on our heels again.