Can You Have Steeltown Without Cowher?

The platitudes people hand out when a prominent figure retires or dies can become so banal and repetitive that one ultimately finds oneself almost disliking the departed as a backlash; see Slate's Jack Shafer's look at how journalists covered Gerald Ford's death, as one example. But we have to say: It will really seem strange to have an NFL without Bill Cowher coaching in it.

We were never that much into Tampa Bay wonderboy Jon Gruden's facial contortions; he always seemed like a little kid trying to seem tough, Lucas puny growling through his glasses. But Cowher, who is expected to retire from the Steelers at a press conference later today, was a football coach sprung straight from the subconscious: Spitting, screaming, bulging, veiny, areyoulisteningtomekidicouldripyourthroatoutwithmymind. He's every gym teacher you ever had on HGH; think Mr. Buzzcut with a mustache. And yet he somehow seemed likable, the guy a player would want to impress. None of the Bobby Knight madness; Cowher always seemed to know what he was doing, though he really could have been a bit more careful with the saliva.

There's still a possibility that Cowher could return to coaching, perhaps even as soon as next year with the Dolphins. We kind of hope not; Cowher seems all too Pittsburgh to us. The man should never, ever wear teal.

Cowher's Decision [KDKA]