Monday, December 29, 2008

The Jaw turns down the Brownies

Yes the Cleveland Browns canned Art Shell's half-brother Romeo Crennel yesterday, and yes they went after our beloved Jaw, Bill Cowher, to be their next head coach, but it looks like Cowher is smarter than many of us gave him credit for, as he almost immediately pulled his name out of consideration.

Honestly, we shouldn't be surprised by this. Sure, the coach has ties to Cleveland in his past, but he's stated in the past he doesn't want to have to compete directly against the Steelers and all his old ties here. And who can blame him? If he were to fail, what could be more damaging to his legacy than near-proof that it was as much the Steeler Way as it was the Cowher Way that contributed to his success during his time here?

And on top of that, the Browns are truly a mess. As much as I believe Cowher fancies himself a Bill Parcells-type figure, I don't think he wants to go through the process of building up a decimated team like the Browns. I mean, yes this team could be turned around into a playoff contender, but they still need a pretty fair amount of talent, have major questions at QB, and have some serious attitude issues. I don't think Cowher wants that type of mess to deal with, although he certainly would have plenty of time (and money).

And for those of you who don't remember, Cowher's tenure in the Burgh was nearly derailed when he took over personnel control after Tom Donahoe was run out of town. It wasn't until Kevin Colbert seized back control that the Steelers (and Cowher) got back on the right track. I bet Cowher still worries about that, and would probably like to have a strong personnel man to work with, especially in a mess like Cleveland.

I was a bit surprised by his proclamation that he would return to CBS in 2009, but not that surprised, because it could just be posturing on his part. I still think that if the right job opened up (like Jon Gruden going to Tampa or Tony Dungy to Indy) with a team that has excellent infrastructure in place but just hasn't been able to get over the top, Cowher would leap at the opportunity. I think the Jets are an intriguing option, as are Dallas and Washington, regardless of what their owners say about their respective coaches futures, and San Diego is also a possibility after Indianapolis wipes the floor with them next weekend.

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