BILL COWHER HEAD COACH OF THE PITTSBURGH STEELERS 1992-2006
So what was Bill Cowher’s contribution to the Steelers’ organisation during the fifteen years that he was with the team?
Just four losing seasons, compared with the six AFC Championship appearances and one Super Bowl win.
That’s a record that Cowher can be proud of. His ambition was to bring another Lombardi trophy to Pittsburgh – and that he almost accomplished in 1996 before the dream came true in 2006.
At the time of his resignation, Cowher was the longest serving coach with one team in the NFL.
He compiled a 161-99-1 overall record, including 149-90-1 in the regular season. His career winning percentage is the highest in Steelers’ history.
His first season set the tone for his time in Pittsburgh. Coming off a losing 7-9 season under Chuck Noll, Cowher began the new era with a winning 11-5 record.
Coach Cowher’s record with the Pittsburgh Steelers:
1992 11 - 5 :- lost to Buffalo in the playoffs.
1993 9 - 7 :- lost at Kansas City in the playoffs.
1994 12 - 4 :- lost to San Diego in the AFC Championship game.
1995 11 - 5 :- lost to Dallas in Super Bowl XXX,
1996 10 - 6 :- lost at New England in the playoffs.
1997 11 - 5 :- lost to Denver in the AFC Championship game.
1998 7 - 9
1999 6 - 10
2000 9 - 7
2001 10 - 5 :- lost to New England in the AFC Championship game.
2002 10 - 5 - 1 :- lost at Tennessee in the AFC Championship game in overtime.
2003 6 - 10
2004 15 - 1 :- lost to New England in the AFC Championship game.
2005 11 - 5 :- won Super Bowl XL.
Non-Steelers fans always suggested that Cowher was a good coach, but that he could never win the big one.
His team deserved to do it in Super Bowl XXX, when as underdogs they gave their Dallas opponents a scare and were coming on strong, until Neil O’Donnell became colour blind.
Ten years later, Cowher laid that myth to rest with his team’s win over the Seahawks in Super Bowl XL. The Steelers made that historic journey via Cincinnati, Indianapolis and Denver before winning the championship in Detroit and put Bill Cowher’s name firmly into the record books.
BARCELONA 1993 - THE ONLY TIME I MET BILL COWHER
The first overseas trip that the Steelers UK Black & Gold made was to Barcelona to see the Steelers face the San Francisco 49ers in an exhibition match up.
The occasion was memorable for me when it began with me oversleeping on the day of the Steelers' practice. Such a rare event on a very important day. We rushed to the Olympic stadium, where Simon and myself somehow managed to find ourselves on the field with the players.
Unfortunately for us, training was virtually over so the dream was very short lived. I did manage to watch Bill Cowher spending a bit of time with Andre Hastings who had been acquired in that year's draft.
That Saturday afternoon we went over to the Steelers hotel to meet Myron Cope. He was a very enthusiastic host and when he found out that we hadn't met Bill Cowher, Myron marched off to find him. He came back very apologetic, explaining that Coach Cowher had gone out.
The next day, as we were watching the players boarding the buses to go to the stadium, I spotted Bill Cowher. Without hesitation I went up and shook Mr. Cowher's hand saying, "Myron told me to introduce myself."
Thanks Myron. Thanks Bill.
BILL COWHER THROWS UK FANS OUT OF THREE RIVERS STADIUM
My next memory of Coach Cowher was of that special Saturday in September, 1993. The Steelers’ UK Black & Gold were making their first pilgrimage, as a club, to Pittsburgh.
We had gone to Three Rivers Stadium to collect our tickets for the following day’s game against the Saints. As we walked around the stadium, we noticed an open gate that led to the field.
Not being a shy crowd, especially as we were at the shrine of football, we tentatively walked into the stadium and found some seats in the lower section so we could take in the atmosphere and locate where our seats were.
As we excitedly exchanged banter, some of the players walked onto the field. Then a few more followed. Our expectations rose as Bill Cowher strolled out into the sunshine. My camera quickly came into use, as this opportunity could not be missed.
Eventually Cowher spotted this group of strangers, who were watching the unfolding events with great interest. He called a security guy over and we knew that our number was now up. Our cover had been blown.
The security man very politely asked us to leave. We apologised and quietly crawled away. Very joyously though, clutching onto those memories for later recall.
SUPER BOWL XL
To live through the tensions of those playoff game and then go to Detroit to see with friends the Steelers win the Super Bowl. Money surely can’t buy that.
I took this photo of Bill Cowher, with his family, during the victory celebrations in Detroit. Wanting a unique souvenir to keep for my old age, I sent it to him asking if he could autograph it for me. Needless to say it came back well and truly signed.
Well, that’s the final memory of a great person and an outstanding coach.
I wish you well in whatever you do Mr. Cowher. Thanks for many memories. I could never do them all justice by trying to express them in words.
MANY THANKS FROM THE STEELERS UK BLACK & GOLD
COWHER'S FIRST YEAR COACHES
WHAT THEY SAID ABOUT OUR BILL IN 1992