Bill Cowher didn’t mince words when asked about Terry Bradshaw’s comments directed at Pittsburgh’s coach, Mike Tomlin.
Cowher, back at the Steelers’ facility on the 10th anniversary of his retirement as Pittsburgh’s head coach, addressed Bradshaw calling Tomlin a “cheerleader guy” back in December.
“It’s unfortunate because it comes from a guy like Terry who is so much a part of the history of the Pittsburgh Steelers,” Cowher said in a story written by Teresa Varley of Steelers.com. “With all due respect to Terry, there is a lot more that gets involved with coaching than playing. I know Terry understands that. I think it’s more unfortunate and a little disappointing.
“But Mike and I have been called a lot worse than that. If the worse thing I was called is a cheerleader, man. I have been called a lot worse than that in my 15 years here and I am sure Mike has been called a lot worse in his 10 years here.
Cowher, the Steelers coach from 1992-06, also talked about how Tomlin has changed since becoming Pittsburgh’s head coach in 2007.
“With Mike, I think you see the same guy today that you saw 10 years ago. I think wiser, more wisdom, and more life experiences. You grow but you are still who you are. He and I never really talked about the team, never talked about how the dynamic works in this building. I never did that with Chuck (Noll). You have to forge your own path. Mike has done that. I did it. Chuck did it. Again I go back to one common denominator in all of this, the Rooney family.”
The Rooney family has been the one constant throughout the history of the Steelers that includes the hirings of Noll, Cowher and Tomlin, who have combined to win six an NFL best Super Bowl titles along with the most division titles (22), playoff berths (29) and playoff wins (34) since the AFL-NFL’s merger in 1970. Noll won four Super Bowls in six seasons from 1974-79, while Cowher won the franchise’s fifth Vince Lombardi Trophy in 2005. In his second season, Tomlin guided Pittsburgh to record sixth Super Bowl title in 2008.
Combined, the trio of Noll, Cowher and Tomlin’s record in Pittsburgh is 445-295-2, as the Steelers have been the most successful franchise in NFL history since Franco Harris’ Immaculate Reception in the 1972 playoff victory over the Raiders.
And while it’s been a decade since he last roamed the sideline, Cowher still gets the same feeling he used to get when he’s inside the Steelers’ facility, a feeling of pride in being part of the rich history of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Cowher also made it clear how he feels about Tomlin, who will look to add to the franchise’s rich history during the 2016 postseason.
“What Mike has done speaks volumes,” Cowher said. “You feel very blessed and fortunate to come to a city, an organization, a place and you just grab the tradition and run with it, but you still have to be yourself. Mike has been himself. He has done a remarkable job of keeping the level of expectation to where it’s been. I was blessed to have followed a legendary coach in Chuck Noll. I think we have all been blessed to work for the Rooney family.”