This will be a weekly column addressing some long and hard questions that Bill Cowher must answer if he is to remain head coach after this year. And No - We will not be forstalled by a Cowher-Press Conference like tirade when the questions hone in on some ugly truth. I agree - there are many questions, but we only have time to thoroughly address one per week - Please forgive me� So, here it is - the question that has plagued all of us for a least the past two seasons.
The Question: Why does Bill Cowher inexplicably coddle Kordell Stewart? I see this man ranting and raving on the sidelines when anyone steps out of line, but he's ol' Muther Hubbard when ever Stewart makes mistakes. For example, the Steelers were off-side against the Wash Redskins on their 1st field goal attempt of the game this past weekend. Certainly, the meathead off-sides on this should have had his head caved in as it gave the Redskins an opportunity to boot another field goal. They did - it was good.
Well, like a real football coach - Cowher first lambasted the player in question(can't remember who it was at this time) and pointed at him from the sidelines to make sure that this bonehead of a play did not fall between the cracks. Furthermore, Bill then found the Special Teams coach and came down on him - this is an excellent example of how to manage/coach anything! First he fiercely confronts the problem personally and then he dutifully enlists the help of a fellow coach with the same intensity. Way to go Bill - A+. Never better.
However dear Steeler fans - this is not the gist of it. If you recall our only trip to the Super Bowl under, you might remember that Neil O'donnel threw the game - who can forget! Even after a very, very good year by Blowdonnel - Cower would not come to his aide and say too many nice things about Neil. Where was Cowher's coddling of the QB then?? Subsequently, O'donnel left for New York to play for the Jets.
What about Miller - the named starter when training camp broke to start the '97 season against Jacksonville. Miller plays all but one half of the game and gets killed - who's to blame?? Not poor preparation by the coaching staff, but the QB Jim Miller.
Why hasn't Cowher ever yelled at Stewart?
The Answer: Cowher fears Kordell Stewart and what he represents to the iron jaw.
I call this The Kordell Syndrome.
Ever since Stewart started playing QB, Cowher was lauded by the media and everyone else - in fact, some "experts" made outrageous claims that he was changing the way the game was played.
Little did Cowher realize that he was heaping too much praise and hype on someone with a very fragile psyche. Stewart has never been confident in himself - yes, he is a very good athlete, but his self-esteem comes and goes with the tides of the Allegheny.
I'm guessing Cowher realized this some time before he benched Stewart for the 1st time during a game. That must have been a hard decision - Cowher new what was coming.
Stewart sat on the bench and sobbed like a little girl!! I can see getting emotional, but Kordell acted like a spoiled child. As close as Stewart and Cowher had become - you know Bill had seen hints of this kind of behavior before this outburst.
Indeed, Cowher did not yell or go into a tirade over this gross display of manhood. No. Bill acted more like a consoling father or even grand-father. He actually seemed to want to avoid a conflict with Stewart. Only if Bill had a QB coach all these years - then maybe they would not be so close. Maybe Cowher would yell at Stewart and then yell at the QB coach.
It is too late - their relationship has sealed one another's fate - If Kordell would have become the greatest then Bill would have been the Master Builder - a Football Genius. Perhaps, the new Emperor of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
As it is - Bill held on too long to that elusive dream.
And now, sobbing at his feet, is Cowher's biggest mistake.