From cushy retirement to coaching the Jets? Who would be so cruel to themselves?
Former Steelers head coach and Super Bowl winner Bill Cowher has been linked to several jobs since stepping away from football in 2006: The 63-year-old has long been attached to the Giants and Cowboys in previous coaching searches, eventually preferring to keep his salary and sanity intact on TV.
On Monday, a new rumor was berthed: Former quarterback Boomer Esiason of "The NFL Today" and "Boomer and Gio" radio show on WFAN in New York teased that his CBS coworker could entertain the Jets head coaching gig if (read as: when) it opens up.
Boomer seems to be hinting that Bill Cowher seems interested in coaching again...he also seems to be saying that Cowher thinks the Jets job is the best job out there...interesting— Morning Show with Boomer & Gio (@WFANmornings) December 7, 2020
"He was saying to me yesterday, he's the one that told me the Jets job is going to be really attractive, and they could hire whomever they want, and he told me he loves Joe Douglas," Esiason said.
Really, this should read as "radio guy makes rumor," but let's have some fun with it:
Cowher, a Hall of Famer, coaching the New York Jets, a historically inept franchise? It seems like a mismatch, but history is no indication of future success, and if nothing else, Esiason is spot on about one thing: The Jets job will be attractive for a number of reasons:
- They'll have more than $80 million in cap space, per Spotrac, among the highest in the league;
- They'll have a likely top-two pick in the 2021 NFL Draft (along with 15 more picks over the next two seasons), depending on how they finish out this season;
- They have young, talented cornerstone players (Mekhi Becton and Quinnen Williams to name a couple);
- They have a well-respected and regarded GM who seems to understand how to build a football team, 2020 results notwithstanding.
All those things are building blocks for a new head coach to help shape and mold a team in his image, and Cowher, whose potential next coaching stop will more than likely be his last, would be set up for success. If the Jets have learned any harsh lesson over the past decade, it's that coaching matters, and Cowher (.619 career winning percentage, five AFC championship appearances, eight division crowns, one Super Bowl win) is among the best.
It also helps that Cowher's wife is a massive Jets fan. (She's used to the pain.)
There are obvious concerns with a Cowher hire: What kind of staff would he put together? Does the long layoff from the sport — he last coached in 2006, remember — hurt him? How would a potential working relationship between he and Douglas function?
But all things considered, if Cowher were to step out of the shadows to coach a team, he could do much worse than the bright lights of New York.