Former Steelers Coach Cowher Elected to Hall of Fame

The Pittsburgh Steelers just added another to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and for the second time in their history, it’s a former head coach.28 years after Chuck Noll was elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Bill Cowher got his ‘Call’ to the Hall Saturday. Only, it wasn’t exactly a call…

While he was doing his duties as an The NFL Today on CBS analyst at halftime, Pro Football Hall of Fame President David Baker made a surprise visit to the set while they were on live TV and gave Cowher the good news: That he is now a member of a Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2020 as part of the Centennial Special Election that will represent Coaches, Contributors and Seniors.

“On behalf of all of us who love this game, and the Pro Football Hall of Fame, it is my privilege,” Baker began. He was cut off by Cowher, however, who noted “This isn’t right that this is happening right now.”The Cowher burst into tears and was congratulated by his wife Veronica Stigeler, and daughter, Meagan, and then he was swarmed by his NFL Today Colleagues Boomer Esiason, James Brown, Phil Simms, and Nate Burleson

“I’m a blessed man, and I’ve been very blessed to be surrounded by some pretty special people,” Cowher said.

Cowher got the call to replace Noll after he retired and in his first season in 1992, he immediately led the Steelers to an 11-5 record, a division title and a #1 seed. For his efforts he was named Associated Press NFL Coach of the Year. That Division Title was the first of 6 straight playoff appearances for Cowher and the Steelers. It also included 5 more Division Titles and his first Super Bowl 30 appearance in the 1995 season in which the Steelers lost to the Dallas Cowboys 27-17.

After 3 seasons in which they didn’t make the playoffs, Cowher got the Steelers going again in 2001 and ’02 as they won 2 more Division Titles and after missing the playoffs in 2003, the Steelers returned to successful 2004 and 2005 seasons with the latter resulting in a victory in Super Bowl 40 in which the Steelers beat the Seattle Seahawks 21-10.

After an 8-8 2006 season in which the Steelers missed the playoffs, Cowher resigned from the Steelers, joined CBS as a Studio Analyst and never looked back: “For a kid from Crafton, for Dan Rooney to take a chance on a 34-year old kid, I couldn’t imagine working anywhere else. That’s why I never thought about coming back. I stepped down for family and have had no regrets doing that.”-Said Cowher

For his career, he led the Steelers to eight division titles, made the playoffs 10 times during which they participated in 21 playoff games. Those 21 playoff games included six appearances

in AFC Championship Games and two trips to the Super Bowl, in which the Steelers were 1-1. His career record is 149–90–1 with a postseason record of 12-9.

Cowher was responsible for bringing Blitzburgh to Pittsburgh in which the defense returned to it’s dominating ways, and he coached Hall of Famers Rod Woodson, Kevin Greene, Dermontti Dawson and Jerome Bettis. Hall of Fame player Dick LeBeau was also a defensive assistant under Cowher.

“Congratulations to Bill Cowher on his election into the Pro Football Hall of Fame,” said Steelers President Art Rooney II in a statement released on Saturday night.” One of our most successful coaches in team history, Bill’s energy and dedication for coaching was evident in every practice and every game. His Pittsburgh roots were perfect for our organization because he knew the history and passion of our fans, and he wanted to bring a Super Bowl back to his hometown. He accomplished that feat in dramatic fashion in Super Bowl XL.”

“Bill was always a family man and made the tough decision to walk away from coaching at a young age to focus on them. I am so happy for his entire family, and I’m sure this summer in Canton will be a special time for Bill and all of Steelers Nation.”

“Bill has no weaknesses, but his greatest strength is how he was in front of the team and how he interreacts with the team,”-Said LeBeau.

“I am so happy for Bill Cowher. Bill had an incredible career and left his mark on the Steelers organization, Pittsburgh and the NFL. The Pro Football Hall of Fame got themselves a great addition. Congrats Bill. You deserve this great honor.”-Said current Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin

“Congratulations Coach Cowher on being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame!!! My coach in Pittsburgh and now my forever coach in Canton!!” Said Bettis.

A special Blue-Ribbon Panel comprised of many members of the overall Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee, Hall of Famers, coaches, football executives and several leading historians scrutinized the merits of nearly 300 candidates nominated for consideration as part of the Hall’s special Centennial Class of 2020. The group of nominees was reduced to a list of 38 finalists in December that were debated in a meeting and voted on by the Blue-Ribbon Panel on Wednesday to elect the 15-member “Centennial Slate” to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The full list of enshrinees, which will include 10 seniors, three contributors and the aforementioned two coaches, will be revealed on Jan. 15 during NFL Network’s Good Morning Football. Those 15 will join the five modern-era enshrinees, who will announced on Super Bowl Weekend during NFL Honors.

Notes: Former Cowboys and Miami Dolphins head coach Jimmie Johnson got the same surprise as Cowher did on Sunday as he was informed by Baker on live TV during the NFL on Fox Halftime Report that he had been elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Upon hearing the announcement, Johnson broke into tears, as did QB Troy Aikman, who was drafted by Johnson in 1989….The NFL’s Championship Sunday is set: AFC Championship game, 3:05 pm ET: Titans at KC Chiefs followed by the NFC Championship game, 6:40 pm ET: Packers at 49ers.

Please e-mail Ray at rayporterjr72@gmail.com

Follow me @urbanmediaRay on Twitter

Quotes: Twitter, www.Steelers.com

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