Invoice Cowher’s preliminary objective upon turning into the Steelers‘ head coach was a easy one. A Pittsburgh native who grew up lower than 15 miles from Three Rivers Stadium, Cowher was simply 34 years outdated when he was tasked to succeed Chuck Noll, who guided the Steelers to 4 Tremendous Bowls throughout the Nineteen Seventies.
“If I do not screw this up in three years, I can return to my twentieth highschool class reunion at Carlynton Excessive College as the pinnacle coach of my hometown group,” Cowher advised NFL Movies in 2020. “That was my preliminary objective.”
Cowher achieved that and a lot extra throughout his 15 years because the Steelers’ coach. A former NFL linebacker for the Browns who later broke into teaching beneath Marty Schottenheimer, Cowher guided the Steelers to at least one Tremendous Bowl title, two AFC titles and 7 division titles. Cowher’s success in Pittsburgh led to his inclusion within the 2020 Corridor of Fame class. Cowher’s class will probably be formally inducted in Canton, Ohio, this summer season.
As Cowher celebrates his sixty fourth birthday, listed here are 5 issues you might not have beforehand recognized in regards to the former coach and present CBS NFL analyst.
A record-setting begin
Cowher’s profession began with six consecutive journeys to the playoffs, tying Paul Brown’s file for probably the most consecutive playoff seasons for a first-time head coach. Led by a dominant protection that included Corridor of Famers Rod Woodson and Kevin Greene, together with perennial Professional Bowlers Greg Lloyd and Carnell Lake, the “Blitzburgh” Steelers received 5 division titles throughout that span whereas establishing themselves as one of many NFL’s most bodily outfits. Among the many highlights throughout Cowher’s first six seasons included a 1994 playoff victory over Invoice Belichick’s Browns, the primary time the 2 franchises had ever met within the postseason.
Tremendous Bowl historical past
After falling brief within the 1994 AFC Championship Recreation, Cowher’s 1995 group endured an early setback when Woodson suffered a knee damage in Week 1 that stored him out for the rest of the common season. After a sluggish begin, the ’95 Steelers grew to become the primary group to make it to the Tremendous Bowl after a 3-4 begin. An enormous purpose for the Steelers’ second-half surge was the emergence of rookie Kordell Stewart, whose versatility as a quarterback, operating again and receiver earned him the nickname “Slash.”
Within the playoffs, the Steelers raced previous the Payments earlier than surviving a last-second Hail Mary to beat the Colts within the AFC title recreation. With the win, the 38-year-old Cowher grew to become the youngest head coach to steer his group to the Tremendous Bowl.
Heavy underdogs in Tremendous Bowl XXX, Cowher helped stem the tide of the sport minutes into the fourth quarter. Along with his group trailing 20-10, Cowher known as for what on the time the earliest-attempted onside kick in Tremendous Bowl historical past. With the Cowboys‘ return males taking off downfield, the Steelers stunned everybody when Norm Johnson dribbled his kick to Deon Figures, who recovered the ball simply shy of midfield with 11:20 to play. The Steelers, who parlayed Cowher’s gamble right into a landing, fought however in the end fell simply in need of finishing what would have been an historic comeback.
The Steelers’ finest common season
In 2004, Cowher oversaw probably the most profitable common season in Steelers historical past. After dropping its season opener in Baltimore, the Steelers would go on to win their ultimate 15 regular-season video games. Among the many primary catalysts for the ’04 Steelers success was second-year security Troy Polamalu, linebackers Joey Porter and James Farrior, defensive linemen Casey Hampton and Aaron Smith, offensive lineman Alan Faneca, receivers Hines Ward and Plaxico Burress, and the QB-RB combo of rookie quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and Jerome Bettis. Roethlisberger received every of his 13 begins that season, whereas Bettis — who began the season as a backup — earned the ultimate Professional Bowl choice of his Corridor of Fame profession.
A Cinderella season
Following a 7-5 begin to the 2005 season, the ultimate 100-yard recreation of Bettis’ profession ignited an eight-game successful streak that culminated within the Steelers’ 21-10 victory over Seattle in Tremendous Bowl XL. Together with successful the franchise’s fifth Vince Lombardi Trophy, Cowher’s group grew to become the primary sixth-seed in NFL historical past to win the Tremendous Bowl. The Steelers additionally grew to become the primary NFL group to win the Tremendous Bowl after successful every of their earlier playoff video games on the highway.
Woodson dominated supreme
Cowher has stated that Woodson was the best participant he coached throughout his 15 years in Pittsburgh. A dominant power at cornerback and as a return man, Woodson earned seven of his 11 profession Professional Bowl choices throughout his time with the Steelers. The league’s Defensive Participant of the 12 months in 1993, Woodson grew to become the primary skilled athlete to bear main knee surgical procedure to come back again and play in that season, beginning for Pittsburgh whereas containing Corridor of Fame receiver Michael Irvin all through Tremendous Bowl XXX. Woodson was inducted into the Corridor of Fame in 2009.