Last night during Jerom Bettis's first broadcast as a TV commentator, he alluded to a conversation he had with Coach Bill Cowher after the Super Bowl about his future as the Steelers coach.
"I really think this is the last year for Coach Cowher in Pittsburgh," said Bettis. "And I say that because I got the opportunity to talk to him after the season was over, when everything else really settled down and he was a different coach, a different guy. He was very reflective, talked about his family, talked about spending more time. ...After that he bought a house down in Raleigh (N.C.), his daughter enrolled in school there. All [of] that leads to coach not coming back after the season."
"Jerome and I talked in March, about a month after the Super Bowl," Cowher said. "There was no confidential information given. I think we were both very reflective at the time. And as I stated with him - and we have not talked since then -- that he has to understand that as you get closer to camp, time has a way of refocusing people."
Cowher insisted that he would not hold a grudge against Bettis for his comments, but he let it be known that he was disappointed.
"I talked to Jerome about that. I was very disappointed in what he said and he understands my position. I wanted to make sure he understood it, because I think a lot of people thought him and I had been speaking. We haven't been speaking. It was one conversation we had and there was nothing confidential given to him at that time and so that's where that is."
I've said it once, and I'll do so once more: I don't think Cowher is going to give up the best head coaching gig in the NFL at the end of this year. Many fans and pundits like to think that winning a championship puts a ribbon on a career. Some think there's nothing left for Cowher to accomplish. This may be true, but winning championships may not be the only reason the man coaches football. Since then, Cowher has changed his tune and emphasized how much he appreciates and respects the 'journey' rather than the 'destination'. The process of coaching is what makes the man tick, not the end result. One other thought. Maybe Cowher realized from our most improbable SB run in the history of football , that it takes an awful lot of good fortune to win a Super Bowl. Perhaps he'll rein in the unecessary anxiety, stress, and even preparation (seriously, do coaches really need to sleep in their offices while falling asleep to opposing defenses game plans?), and be a more relaxed man in the forthcoming years. I'm not saying he's going to lose the scowl, but perhaps he can stay on board as coach and use his experience to prepare his team the best he can without wearing down his family and his health. Maybe I stand alone, but I see him attempting that before I see him walking away from coaching.