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Collected Wisdom: CBS analyst, former Steelers coach Bill Cowher

by Michael Baldwin Published: December 7, 2013
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photo - Bill Cowher watches the players at a clinic at Southmoore High school for two teams from the Oklahoma Elite Football League Wednesday, November 20, 2013. Photo by Doug Hoke, The Oklahoman
Bill Cowher watches the players at a clinic at Southmoore High school for two teams from the Oklahoma Elite Football League Wednesday, November 20, 2013. Photo by Doug Hoke, The Oklahoman

Bill Cowher compiled 149 wins in 15 years as coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers. He led the Steelers to 10 playoff appearances, reaching the AFC title game six times, including two Super Bowls, winning it in 2006.

Retiring seven years ago, Cowher is a studio analyst for The NFL Today show. Last month he visited Moore. A story on Cowher conducting a clinic for sixth graders in a city rebuilding following a May 20 tornado will air during Sunday's national pre-game show that starts at 11 a.m.

Watching the NFL from a different perspective has been enjoyable. When you're coaching you can become very narrow minded, focused on things you need to do to help your team improve. Being on the CBS side of it has allowed me to see the big picture, trend developments. You have a better understanding why some decisions are made because you get to see all the games every week.

The CBS pre-game show is awesome. It's a lot of fun. Boomer (Esiason), Dan (Marino) and Shannon Sharpe are so much fun to work with. The best part is when Monday comes around you didn't lose a game.

All the rules changes are being done for the right reasons. You're talking safety. In the greater scheme of things, all the way down to youth football, people need to try and do everything they can to protect players but everyone who plays in the NFL knows there's a risk.

I'll never forget those years playing in high school in western Pennsylvania (Crafton, population 6,500). It was a really small school. We only had 20 guys on the team. Most of us played both ways. I love kidding my brother the only time he got to play was when the defense came in.

My greatest thrill was winning Super Bowl XL. That's the ultimate. In college my senior year we won the Tangerine Bowl. But perhaps the greatest thrill I ever had was when my three daughters were born.

Two of my favorite NFL memories were my first win as a head coach and my first time to step onto the field for a game as a player. Just making the team was big for me (as an undrafted free agent linebacker).

As a head coach you have to make sure you exhaust every option. You can't make changes just to make changes. You have to consider alternatives. And you can't wait too long into a season. I never wanted to sit back and say, ‘What if?' I would prefer to say ‘I tried this, I tried that.' Then you could live with yourself.

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by Michael Baldwin
Redhawks, Barons, MLB, NFL Reporter
Mike Baldwin has been a sports reporter for The Oklahoman since 1982. Mike graduated from Okmulgee High School in 1974 and attended Oklahoma Christian University, graduating with a journalism degree in 1978. Mike's first job was sports editor...
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