Stillers seal their fate:
Today, the Stiller FO, bowing to Coach Cowher�s demand for a contract extension, prolonged his tenure through the 2005 season.� This move is solidly in the tradition established here; again, the FO has waged a bidding war against itself and come away with dubious value.� Fathomless stupidity; the Head is entering the 4th year of a (5) year deal.� During his (last) new deal, the Stillers rolled to a 22-26 mark.� Arguably, the trend is upward but that is by no means clear.� True, 9-7 is better than 6-10, or 7-9, but it is bad science to predict a trend from a couple data points; it would have been far better to wait and see what happens this season. �From �97 thru �99, the Stillers win totals dwindled from 11 to 7 to 6.� Maybe 9-7 in 2000 marks a turnabout; maybe 9-7 was a micro-bump on a long-term skid.
Whatever; there would have been no downside to waiting.� If the Stillers are rebounding, do the deal; if not, well, Marvin Lewis will be on the market next year and Tony Dungy may be too.� Those are defense-minded Pittsburgh guys, just like Das Jaw.�� Perhaps, after the Stillers now certain 2001 Super Bowl season, Coach Cowher would attract some enormous offer; fine, let him go, collect the draft compensation and move on to Marvin.�
It could be said that $3M/year is market for a head coach; in fact, ESPN cited Butch Davis and Jim Fassel as having comparable deals.� Well, Davis hasn�t coached for even a minute in the NFL; the new Browns� absolute lack of direction clearly has shown that Bill Walsh, not Policy and Clark, was responsible for the 49ers dominance through the 80�s and into the last decade.
Fassel came to the NYG as an offensive guru but in just a couple seasons, fell from that exalted state.� Lord Jim was on a ledge last year when he, somehow, managed to cajole his talent-deprived Giants into the Big Bowl.� There, they were beaten savagely but, hey, they weren�t really a very good team.� Fassel got the most out of his troops and, for that, a very big contract.� However, it is worth noting that John Fox and Seth Payton, coordinators on either side of the ball, figured prominently in the NYG rise to near-glory.� In mid-season, Fassel handed the O-side reins to Payton and the Giants took off; all year, that Fox-headed Front 7 concealed the fact that the NYG DB couldn�t cover anyone.�
In contrast, Coach Cowher goes through coordinators like fat boys eat chips.� Maybe, that�s not all his fault but he is the constant factor in a repeating pattern.� It may be tough to work with genius but not even his staunchest supporters award Coach that status.� Mr. Cowher is not an X/O man; he hasn�t out-coached anyone on any game day since Barry Switzer swayed half-baked across the field in Phoenix and, as an evaluator of talent, well, consider the Stiller drafts since Modrak blew town.���
No genius, no tactician, no talent scout; no, Coach Cowher is, in fact, considered to be a fiery leader.� Well, I guess; what is described as leadership looks like bluster to me but, no doubt, some like it like that.� I prefer insight from my leaders but it is absolutely clear now, in the reign of Bush the Younger, that IQ is only a minor pre-requisite to ascension.� Be that as it might, Mr. Cowher certainly seems to be a stubborn, proud and determined individual.� Tempered, those all are considerable attributes but unchecked this is not so.� Coach Cowher�s characteristic strengths as a man have doomed the Stillers to a defensive scheme that has been entirely abandoned elsewhere, to an offensive scheme that has been effectively neutralized by the top teams within the division and to a means of talent evaluation that depends more on personal predilection (�Spike returned all my calls�) than any rational look at the league as it is today.�� Famously, Coach Cowher has gotten the most from modest talent; tragically, so long as he stays on the scene, that will be the most we can expect.���