Question of the Day: What will Bill Cowher be doing next season and where?
Writers from around Tribune Co. weigh in on the topic. Check back throughout the day for more responses and feel free to leave a comment of your own.
Ken Murray, Baltimore Sun
ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported that Bill Cowher has a wish-list of three teams--the Texans, Dolphins and Giants. That strongly suggests Cowher won't be interested in current vacancies at Dallas (under the insufferable Jerry Jones), Minnesota (a stadium fiasco with no end in sight) or Denver (would you want Tim Tebow as your quarterback?).
Of the preferred three, the Texans are best situated to make a rapid rise. Their offense is top notch, if their defense is not. But Cowher knows defense; he can solve that. Miami is the team that Bill Parcells built -- and abandoned when he saw it wasn't going to work. The Dolphins have no quarterback because it was more convenient for Parcells to sign tackle Jake Long than try to sign quarterback Matt Ryan. The Giants are tempting because they have Eli Manning and Justin Tuck and are in the Big Apple. Hard to turn that down if Tom Coughlin gets canned.
But barring Coughlin's ouster, my guess is that Cowher resurfaces in Houston, where he can capitalize on the shifting winds of the division. The Colts are vulnerable, Tennessee is in turmoil and Jacksonville is headed to Los Angeles. Cowher is just what the Texans need.
Dan Pompei, Chicago Tribune
Bill Cowher has the luxury of being very selective. He can wait for precisely the right NFL job to open up because he likes being a broadcaster and he can demand exactly what he wants in his contract because he will be the most sought after candidate.
There are not many potential job openings that would appeal to Cowher. Even though he lives in North Carolina, the Panthers likely wouldn't meet his contract requirements. It's unlikely the 49ers would either. The Cowboys' situation might be too messy with Jerry Jones involved.
The strongest possibilities are the Giants, Texans, Dolphins and Broncos, assuming those teams make changes. The Giants could be the best fit for Cowher, but they probably will stick with Tom Coughlin. The most likely place for him to end up then might be Miami.
Dave Hyde, Sun Sentinel
If Bill Cowher wants a cushy job at a good salary, he'll stay beside Dan Marino on the CBS set next year, but if he wants to return to coaching, the Houston Texans are his best fit of the three teams on the short list.
The New York Giants is the best job, but the Mara family won't and shouldn't fire Tom Coughlin. The Dolphins job has too many problems, the most obvious being at quarterback.
Houston and Cowher work, though. Houston has the league's fifth-rated offense with all the necessary parts: good quarterback in Matt Schaub, dynamic playmaker in Andre Johnson and a solid running game.
Where Houston needs reorganization is defense. It has some players. It just needs some good offseason moves and better coaching. And what's Cowher's specialty? Defense. Everything says Houston is the best fit for him.
Sam Farmer, Los Angeles Times
On Sunday's edition of CBS' "The NFL Today," Bill Cowher is going to play sports scientist and go into his "lab" to conduct experiments on ways to improve football. He'll look at everything from re-seeding playoff teams, to widening the field, to looking into why coaches aren't given unlimited replay challenges.
What Cowher isn't going to do is announce he's coming back to coach -- and don't expect that announcement in the next year, either. Cowher likes being a TV analyst, and he doesn't have a burning desire to return to the sideline -- especially it's for a team that's not positioned to win.
Why would he want to go to a franchise that doesn't have a solid answer at quarterback -- Carolina or Denver, for instance -- or a place like Cleveland, which already has a dawg in Mike Holmgren? Dallas is going to keep Jason Garrett, and Minnesota -- which doesn't have a quarterback -- is going to keep Leslie Frasier.
What's more, NFL owners are going to be very careful about making splashy coaching hires while the labor situation is in dispute. You can expect to see Cowher on Sunday's next fall -- but expect to see him in a studio, not holding a clipboard.
Photo: Bill Cowher, former coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers, could be back on the sidelines next season. Credit: Nick Laham / Getty Images