It's that time of year again when Bill Cowher's name is mentioned for every coaching vacancy from South Beach to Jones Beach. Already the question is being asked: Is this the year Cowher returns to the sideline?
Cowher, now an analyst for CBS Sports, said he won't comment on coaching rumors. However, according to a source with knowledge of the situation, intermediaries for the Miami Dolphins have contacted people close to Cowher about coaching the team.
|Bill Cowher hasn't worked the sidelines since the 2006 season. (US Presswire)|
Dolphins owner Stephen Ross has flirted with coaching candidates while employing a sitting coach. Last January, Ross was heavily criticized for courting Jim Harbaugh while Sparano was still leading the team. Ross decided to stick with Sparano. I believe the extreme secrecy and back-channel pursuit of Cowher, instead of reaching out to Cowher directly, is a result of the criticism Ross endured after his pursuit of Harbaugh.
It's been a rough year for Sparano. The Dolphins are winless and they lost to the Denver Broncos in historic fashion by blowing a 15-0 advantage which was the first time since 1983 a team lost more than a 14-point lead with three minutes to go. In that game, Sparano was caught by television cameras pleading to game officials to review a touchdown just scored by the Broncos.
"If I don't call a timeout, I'm [sunk] and now I'm getting fired, OK?" he yelled while pointing toward Ross' owner's box.
To make matters worse, Dolphins players told the Palm Beach Post that on the tying run by Tim Tebow, the Dolphins were in the wrong defense.
There isn't a more attractive free agent coaching candidate out there than Cowher. He's won a Super Bowl, is considered a builder and teacher, has the respect of players, personnel men and owners alike.
It's unclear if compensation would be owed to the Pittsburgh Steelers should Cowher took a job with another team. Cowher resigned as Steelers coach in 2007.
When speaking to a crowd of 2,000 people at the campus of Penn State-Behrend last year, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Cowher said: "I am not going to go back into coaching, just to go back into coaching. It has to be the right situation. And I don't know what the right situation consists of."
Cowher added that over the years he's been approached by several NFL teams each year looking for a new coach. "But I never got too far into it," he said then.
Might that change this year?