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The Real Question About Cowher's Extension

July 13, 2001 by Steel Hammer

My fellow authors here at Stillers

My fellow authors here at have gotten all riled up over Bill Cowher�s contract extension. To me it�s no big deal. That is unless Dan Rooney makes it one.


Prior to this extension Bill Cowher was going to be the coach of the Steelers for the 2001 season. This extension does not change that. In fact it doesn�t even change what he is going to be paid for this season. He was also under contract for the 2002 season, but that wasn�t any guarantee that he would actually be the Coach come next season, just that he�d get paid. The same can be said of years 2003 through 2005 under the extension. The difference is that from 2002 to 2005, he�ll be making about $3 million a year. I could care less about the money the coach is paid. It doesn�t show up in the salary cap. The only way I would care is if the costs were passed along to the fans (like through the parking rate increase) or if Dan Rooney poor mouths about an inability to sign free agents due to a lack of money.


As Mill points out in his article, the real question is about whether Cowher deserves to be the Steelers coach. That is a question that will remain up for debate, even with the extension. The only question this extension adds is if Cowher doesn�t perform will Rooney bite the bullet and fire him anyway? Rooney has had a penchant for wanting to live up to a contract, but when it�s come right down to it he�ll break a contract if that is what is best for the Steelers. Just ask Dirt Dawson or Tom Donahoe. So if Rooney wants to risk his money by signing Cowher to an extension now when he may come cheaper, no problem just as long as he is willing to take the loss if Cowher needs to be replaced. And replaced he can be. No doubt that a Tony Dungy or Bill Parcells could easily replace him. Marvin Lewis, Gary Kubiak, or even Chan Gailey could too. I am not the biggest Cowher fan, but this is more about Dan Rooney than it is Bill Cowher. The question is will Rooney pay a coach who isn�t the coach if that�s what needs to be done?

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