This past weekend, rumors began to circulate that the Cleveland Browns are interested in bringing Marty Schottenheimer back to be their head coach in 2009. Earlier this season, rumors began to run rampant that the Browns are also interested in former Scottenheimer assistant and Steelers head coach Bill Cowher.
(Update 12/10 8:00am: ESPN’s John Clayton is reporting this morning that he thinks the Browns will make an offer to Bill Cowher, but that the Cowher will turn it down. Some people think that Cowher is simply using the Browns to gain leverage and keep his name top of mind for if and when he does want to return to coaching. Midwest Sports Fans writer JRod is reporting who gives a crap. This is the time of year when everyone in the NFL lies about everything — injuries, draft boards, job interest, etc. No one knows what Cowher will do, but there is genuine interest. Good enough for me. Now back to the post.)
No one knows who will be coaching the Cleveland Browns in 2009, or even who will end up interviewing for the job; but what has become unfortunately clear this season is that Romeo Crennel will not be back. I love Romeo Crennel, and I know that his players love him as well; and I wish that he was the right man for the job. But it is hard to come up with any type of rationale or reason for why he should continue as the Browns head coach.
So with that being said, I have decided to stack Bill Cowher and Marty Schottenheimer up next to eachother to see which coach would be the better choice for the Browns, using 11 carefully selected categories that are all extremely important indicators of their potential for success in Cleveland.
Here we goâ€¦
Place of Birth:
Marty Schottenheimer was born in Canonsburgh, PA. Bill Cowher was born in Crafton, PA.
Marty Schottenheimer went to school at Pitt. Bill Cowher went to NC State.
Advantage: Bill Cowher â€“ at least he didnâ€™t go toâ€¦ughâ€¦Pittsburgh. Guilt by association for Schottenheimer.
Professional Football Playing Career:
Marty Schottenheimer was a seventh round draft pick of Buffalo Bills, then in the AFL. He played four seasons with the Bills, including their AFL Championship team in 1965 when we made the AFL All-Star Team. He also played two seasons with the Boston Patriots and was then traded twice in the 1971 offseason before retiring.
Bill Cowher signed with the Eagles as a free agent in 1979. In 1980, he signed with the Browns, where he played from 1980-1982. He was then traded back to the Eagles and played there from 1983-1984.
Advantage: Push â€“ Schottenheimer had more success, but it was before the merger and Cowher played for the Browns.
Regular Season Head Coaching Record:
Marty Schottenheimer has been the head coach for four teams: the Browns, the Chiefs, the Redskins, and the Chargers. His combined W/L record is 200-126-1, which is good for a .613 winning percentage.
Bill Cowher has been the head coach for one team: the Pittsburgh Steelers. His regular season record during his Steelers tenure was 149-90, which is good for a .623 winning percentage.
Advantage: Bill Cowher
Marty Schottenheimer has a putrid 5-13 postseason record, which is only a .278 winning percentage. He has never reached a Super Bowl. He did coach in 3 AFC Championship games, and twice with the Browns — and we all remember how those turned out.
Bill Cowher has a rather sterling 12-9 postseason record and has one Super Bowl title in two appearances. He has also coached in 7 AFC Championship games.
Advantage: Bill Cowher
Marty Schottenheimer has at least a .500 record for each of the four teams that he has coached for. If you take out his 8-8 tenure in Washington, Schottenheimerâ€™s worst performance was in San Diego, where he went 47-33 (.588). Marty Schottenheimer has proven that no matter what team he coaches for, on either coast, in either conference, and no matter what the situation is when he gets there, he will turn that franchise into a consistent playoff contender.
Bill Cowher has been the head coach for one team, in one city, and for only one owner. He was superb as the coach of the Steelers, but we have no other history to go on to project his ability to adapt to a new circumstance.
Advantage: Marty Schottenheimer
Funniest Photoshopped Picture in first five pages of Google Image Search:
This picture of Marty Schottenheimer seems to suggest that he needs or takes Ritalin. The Photoshop work (not done by Midwest Sports Fans) is shoddy at best:
(Here is the original source: http://theobgcommunique.blog.ca/2006/11/04/week_9_obg_nfl_picks~1296345)
This picture of Bill Cowher is completely ridiculous, makes no sense, and while the Photoshop work (not done by Midwest Sports Fans) is better, it is overall far, far funnier than the picture above.
(Here is the original source: http://good-times.webshots.com/photo/1510865429079286066OVCnvA)
Advantage: Bill Cowher
Best Angry Face:
Advantage: Bill Cowher
Dorkiest Picture available online:
In this photo, Bill Cowher has a grin on his face so cheesy it would make this guy cream in his pants:
(This photo is from http://www.montheyrhinos.com.)
Marty Schottenheimer, on the other hand, looks like a high school chemisty teacher with damaged retinas who is counting down the minutes until he can get back to his Bunsen burners and graduated cylinders.
(This image is from Getty Images. Here is the original source.)
Bill Cowherâ€™s choice of a sweater for the press conference in which he announced his resignation as coach of the Steelers is legendary. No one was quite sure if Cowher was trying to be a white Bill Cosby or if a Jackson Pollack painting and a Picasso painting were making love around his torso.
(This photo courtesy of Pittsburghlive.com.)
The following picture of Marty Schottenheimer proves that Marty is not quite Versace either. The bright white shoes and above-the-knee shorts are bad enough, but the hat tops it off. Weâ€™ll give him a pass on the hat under the assumption that he may have sensitive to the sun in his advancing age.
Advantage: Push â€“ and who cares about their fashion sense? Theyâ€™d be coaching in Cleveland for goodness sake.
Marty Schottenheimerâ€™s coaching tree includes Bill Cowher, Herm Edwards, Tony Dungy, Mike McCarthy, Wade Phillips, and Cam Cameron, among others. Former Cowher assistants such as Jim Haslett, Mike Mularkey, Ken Whisenhunt, and Dick LeBeau have all been NFL head coaches of varying success.
Advantage: Marty Schottenheimer â€“ he gave Bill Cowher his first job, so if NFL coaching was a
multi-level marketing organization, all of Cowherâ€™s tree would count for Schottenheimer.
And that’s it.
The final tally is 2 for Marty Schottenheimer, 5 for Bill Cowher, and 4 categories for which neither has distinct advantage.
So, clearly, Bill Cowher is the better choice for the Browns.
In all seriousness, I think he is. In the categories that matter: regular season record and postseason success, Bill Cowher has Marty Schottenheimer beat. The biggest discrepancy is in the postseason. Bill Cowher has proven that he can lead teams deep into the playoffs, and that he can get them over the hump. Marty Schottenheimer, while one of the most successful regular season coaches of all time, has not proven that he can translate regular season success into Super Bowl appearances or victories.
The only criteria that might give you pause as a Browns fan is the fact that Bill Cowher has never proven he can win outside of Pittsburgh. The Steelers won before he was there, and they are winning now that he is gone. Is it possible that the true reasons for the Steelers success lie with the Rooney family and the Steelers organization, and that Bill Cowher is given too much credit? Marty Schottenheimer has taken three difference franchises to the playoffs and has turned moribund franchises into winners.
While this is reasonable to consider, it simply does not trump Bill Cowherâ€™s consistent success in Pittsburgh. And even though any Browns fan would sever their arm just to taste the playoffs again â€“ and Marty Schottenheimer would undoubtedly be able to deliver at least a playoff appearance â€“ Bill Cowher gives you the potential of going all the way, based on what he has proven capable of in the past.
If the Browns are going to make a change, and they are, then why not go for the one with the highest upside, and the one who is younger and could be around longer? That would be Bill Cowher.
The truth is that Browns fans would have reason for genuine excitement and optimism if either Marty Schottenheimer or Bill Cowher is trolling the sidelines of Cleveland Stadium next year. But I think the optimism would be justifiably higher if Bill Cowher is one that ends up getting the job.