The Bill Cowher drumbeat grows louder with each 4th quarter collapse by the Browns.
The Cleveland Browns entered the 2008 NFL season with greater expectations than at any other point in the franchise’s second life. After a 10-6 season last year, some bold offseason moves, and the expectation that an explosive offense would be even more explosive with a year of experience together, some fans were even talking about a darkhorse Super Bowl run in 2008.
Unfortunately, a Game 1 trashing at the hands of the Dallas Cowboys was a harbinger of the unrealized expectations that have come to define the Browns in 2008.
Nine games into the season, the Browns sit at 3-6. They are coming off back-to-back 4th quarter collapses in which they gave up double-digit leads at home. Derek Anderson has already been benched. Braylon Edwards can’t catch a cold. Kellen Winslow has been hospitalized and suspended. Joe Jurevicius it out for the season. Donte Stallworth can’t stay healthy. Wait…thank goodness for that last one. At least something has gone as expected this year.
The growing list of 2008 failures for the Cleveland Browns has led to whispers that have morphed into mega-phone shouts for a coaching change to happen sooner rather than later. Romeo Crennel received a contract extension in the offseason after the surprising 2007 success. Unfortunately, 2007 is starting to look more and more like the mirage, as opposed to the norm. Poor clock management, unimaginative play-calling, and a defense that was solidly bend-but-don’t-break but is now breaking, are all problems that get placed directly at the feet of the head coach.
And for many Browns supporters, the solution to everything that ails the Browns is one man: Bill Cowher.
Frustrated fans at Browns Backers meetings are throwing his name around more often. Unsubstantiated rumors have circulated around the Internet that Bill Cowher was buying a home in Strongsville, Ohio — much to delight of Browns fans. And one Browns supporter has purchased and set up www.cowher09.com to further implore the Browns to do whatever it takes to bring the former Steelers coach back to the AFC North.
No one can argue with the success that Bill Cowher had during his time with Pittsburgh. And it is hard to defend the current Browns coaching regime with what we have seen so far this year. I don’t know how seriously Bill Cowher wants to get back into coaching, and I wonder if Browns fans really want to submit themselves to the constant antagonizing from Steelers fans who will say that the Browns could only win when they brought in a Steeler. But I have to admit, thinking about Bill Cowher roaming the sidelines, fuming at the mouth, and showing emotion that has been seen on a Cleveland sideline since Marty Schottenheimer is a pretty exciting flight of fancy.
Will it happen? Who knows. But unless the Browns can pull of a miraculous turnaround for the ages and make the playoffs, the heat on Romeo Crennel will most likely be too much for him to overcome. And then the drumbeat for Bill Cowher will grow to deafening proportions throughout Central Ohio.
Could Bill Cowher be the man to overcome the curse and black cloud that has seemed to hang over the Browns franchise since returning to the NFL? It is impossible to argue that he isn’t more qualified than the coaches currently in place. And at the very least, as with the QB switch to Brady Quinn, the sight of Bill Cowher pacing the sidelines would at least give Browns fans renewed hope that perhaps their beloved team can be a consistent competitor again.
Any Browns fan knows that hope can be fleeting, and can often be replaced by the deflating thud of unrealized potential and unmet expectations. Too often during the Browns reincarnation this has been true. But the new Browns have always had first time head coaches without a winning pedigree. Bill Cowher would bring a resume of success and, it would seem, hope that could be trusted.
Are the dream of Bill Cowher the Brown just that — dreams? Or is it truly a possibility?
Only time will tell, but one thing is for sure: when a fan base has more faith in an ex-coach from their hated rival who is currently on TV and not on the sidelines, as opposed to the current coach who recently got a contract extension, something is wrong and hope effectively gone.
Romeo Crennel has proven that he is a good man and a good, championship-level defensive coordinator. Bill Cowher has proven that he is a great, championship-level head coach. Even the most ardent Romeo Crennel-as-head-coach supporter (if there are any left) would have a hard time arguing with that.
As the drumbeat for Bill Cowher grows, only a few questions remain: will Browns’ management be able to argue with it; and will Cowher be able to resist a return to the smash-mouth division he loves so much? My gut feeling is that these questions may be rhetorical and that it’s only a matter of time and detail before the latest incarnation of renewed hope is present on the Browns sideline.
[tags]bill cowher, cleveland browns, nfl[/tags]