When former Steelers coach Bill Cowher made it known that he’d interview for no jobs with teams that currently have head coaches, Cowher surely was trying to create the impression that he was being respectful to the men who hold those jobs.
In reality, that position could get guys fired, since any team that might be interested in Cowher now knows that, in order to have a crack at him, the guy who presently has the job must be thrown overboard.
One guy who could be walking the plank merely to allow a struggling team to get a shot at Cowher is Bucs coach Raheem Morris.
According to Jason La Canfora of NFL Network, the Buccaneers have reached out to Cowher.
In turn, La Canfora reports that the Bucs are willing to make a change if they can lure an A-list candidate, and that the Bucs are willing to pay the money to make it happen. La Canfora also points out that, if they can’t make if happen, they’ll possibly stick with Morris.
Of course, that’s not how it’s supposed to work in this Rooney Rule environment. But with the Redskins by all appearances selecting their next head coach before firing their current one, why shouldn’t other teams do the same?
(Heck, maybe the Bucs could even pre-comply with the Rooney Rule by interviewing Morris for the job he now holds.)
The bigger question, in our view, is whether the Bucs are truly willing to pay big money for a coach — or whether they simply hope to knock down rumors that they’re cheap before deciding to stand pat with Raheem.
On one hand, the fact that they’ve paid nearly $10 million for one season of football to receiver Antonio Bryant tells us that the Bucs shouldn’t flinch about paying a guy like Cowher $10 million per year, too. But the Bucs were forced by the labor agreement to spend nearly $110 million on players in 2009; using the franchise tag on Bryant helped to get them there.
So it remains to be seen whether the Bucs would cough up big money without an obligation to do so. If they’re truly interested, they could make the ultimate big splash by bringing Cowher to Tampa.
Though La Canfora’s source isn’t named, we think that Cowher’s people could be floating this one in order to get the Panthers, who share a division with Tampa, interested in hiring him. As legend has it, the Panthers refrained from firing coach John Fox after the 2007 season due to fears that Fox would then be hired by the Falcons.
So with reports emerging that the Panthers might not want Cowher, it makes sense for Cowher to let owner Jerry Richardson know that, if he doesn’t hire Cowher, he might have to contend with him twice per year.