Bill Cowher and Jon Gruden are getting a lot of publicity over the past few days as teams begin to look towards filling their coaching vacancies. While I like Gruden and think he had a excellent run as a head coach in the NFL, I think Bill Cowher has a better chance at reviving his coaching career.
While Gruden may have a better football mind, Cowher is better at several key things than the younger coach. Cowher has never been considered an X's and O's coach, but he is outstanding in practice, a master at player-coach interactions and runs a locker room as well as anyone in the history of the NFL.
Gruden is a fantastic offensive coach and while his West Coast system may take up to two years to fully implement with a new team, it is sure to be run to perfection once it is in place. I have no doubt Gruden will eventually have a successful run if he takes the reins of another NFL franchise, but I think Cowher has an edge to him that would give him an advantage.
In 11 NFL seasons with the Oakland raiders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the 48-year-old Gruden compiled a 95-81 (.540) regular season record, while the 54-year-old Cowher was 149-90-1 (.623) in 15 seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Both guys won Super Bowls and both were highly regarded among their peers and former players.
For me, Cowher just brings a certain edge to things that gives him more credibility. He just carries himself like a winner and he has the personality that garners immediate respect and admiration from his players. At times, Gruden seemed to turn off some of his guys.
Cowher's players always seemed to be willing to run through a wall for him and that is the exact kind of attitude that breeds championship teams. I think that gives him the edge over Gruden in selecting whose career will be resurrected faster.