View Full Version : Starkey: Is Bill Cowher a Hall of Famer?

08-11-2011, 03:16 AM
Starkey: Cowher a Hall of Famer?

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Bill Cowher, who along with Bill Parcells becomes eligible for the Pro Football Hall of Fame next year, would never be enshrined in my Hall of Fame. Not unless he comes out of retirement and wins another Super Bowl or two.

Nothing personal, mind you. But my Hall of Fame is reserved for legends of the game.

The roster of coaches is patently obvious. That's the point. Only the obvious belong in any Hall of Fame.

My coaches include Vince Lombardi, George Halas, Paul Brown, Chuck Noll, Curly Lambeau, Don Shula, Bill Walsh, Tom Landry, Weeb Ewbank and Joe Gibbs anyone who would prompt an immediate and emphatic "Yes!" to the question: Was he an all-time great?

Cowher wasn't.

It's beyond me how any coach who didn't win multiple championships would even merit consideration, unless we're talking about a genius innovator. But that brings us back to the real Hall of Fame, where there is no rationale whatsoever for selecting coaches.

Cowher has an excellent shot at the real Hall of Fame.

In 15 seasons with the Steelers, Cowher produced a robust regular-season winning percentage of .623, a 12-9 playoff record, two AFC titles and a Super Bowl championship. In the wake of his retirement five years ago, I wrote that he should be a lock, given that men with weaker credentials including ring-less wonders Bud Grant and Marv Levy had already been enshrined.

That was a bit strong. It overlooked the fact that two-time Super Bowl winners were still on the outside looking in.

The more you look at who's in and who's out, you realize that trying to find a common thread a sure-fire ticket to Canton is impossible. The media-member voting committee, currently numbered at 44, should be mortified.

Levy is in, but Jimmy Johnson's out?

George Allen is in, but George Seifert's out?

Grant is in, but Tom Flores is out?

Last I checked, coaching pro sports is about winning championships. Allen, Levy and Grant combined for precisely zero Super Bowl wins. The other three combined for six.

OK, you say, maybe the committee is fixated on longevity. That has been mentioned as a reason Johnson can't get a sniff. He coached only nine years.

But wait, Allen coached only 12 years and went 2-7 in the playoffs, whereas Johnson was a central figure in turning a sickly Dallas franchise into Super Bowl champions. Can you imagine what Johnson must have been thinking as he watched Levy a man he beat by a combined score of 82-30 in two Super Bowls make his acceptance speech?

John Madden, enshrined in 2006, coached fewer games than Johnson and won half as many Super Bowls (one). Despite a wealth of talent, he managed to win all of one conference championship in his 10 years and only then when the Steelers showed up for the 1976 AFC title game without a backfield.

So much for longevity. Must be about regular-season winning percentage. Madden's mark of .759, after all, is the highest among coaches with 100 career victories.

But wait, Seifert had a .648 winning percentage (sixth among coaches with 100 wins) and a .667 playoff winning percentage (seventh among coaches with 10-plus games) to complement his two Super Bowl wins. His crime, I guess, was inheriting a great San Francisco 49ers team and keeping it great.

Could it be that Seifert, Flores and Johnson are penalized for underachieving stints at other stops? Maybe, but Levy didn't win in Kansas City, and Hank Stram (Class of '03) failed in New Orleans.

So go ahead, try to apply logic to Cowher's chances. At best, I say he belongs in line behind Johnson, Seifert, Parcells, Flores and passing-game innovator Don Coryell. But who knows? If he has a voter in his corner, he could be a first-ballot inductee.

How utterly Madden-ing.

And it should be so simple.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... z1Uh6Jr7Qv (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_751049.html#ixzz1Uh6Jr7Qv)

08-11-2011, 11:01 AM
Of course coaches coach to win championships and players play to win championships if you had to win a championship to get into the HOF then Dan Marino wouldn't be in, how retarded is that. A coach is measured (IMO) by how much he gets out of players, winning, winning big games, longevity and motivating.

Bill Cowher won enough games, motivated players better than all but a few in history, was able to extract every ounce of talent from players and won some big games (more would have been better). That all being said, he isn't a first ballot HOFer, but he should get in based on his 15 years with the Steelers.


08-11-2011, 02:34 PM
Bill Cowher is the coach I had through my most knowledgeable days as a football fan. He righted the ship from the 80's mediocrity that I spent my formative years as a Steeler fan. Bottom line, he got it done...

I would not put him in at this point.

It's sad, because if he had TWO Super Bowls, I don't think you could deny him. And I think he would have two, if a certain team hadn't *allegedly* cheated during that time... (potentially two AFC Championship games)

08-11-2011, 02:54 PM
After winning Super Bowl XL, he mailed in the 2006 season...that's enough to keep him OUT, in my book.

08-11-2011, 03:55 PM
Getting to two AFCC games with Kordell Stewart as the QB is enough to get him into the HOF in my book.

08-11-2011, 07:02 PM
I agree with Starky's sentiment that Cowher is not HOF material but on the other hand a number of HOF coaches are not either so he has a chance.

I think his status as "media" helps. After watching this year's HOF with all the self-promotion, one wonders if "media" candidates get preferential treatment.