Black Monday – the day that comes after the conclusion of every NFL regular season – will mark the day when some NFL organizations will make their decisions to retain or fire their respective head coaches in limbo.
While the days of the Andy Reid, Norv Turner and over another handful of other NFL coaching jobs futures are up in the air, the coaching carousel will sprout plenty of names of potential candidates who could replace them.
Come one, come all, just be prepared to hear names ranging from longtime coordinators, to college coaches and even the guys you’ve never heard of who manage to land NFL head coaching jobs.
But sift through all the names and you’ll eventually stumble upon a familiar one. A name that rings the bell of a man’s man kind of chin and brute mentality.
Yes, none other than Bill Cowher has to come to mind. Cowher has been hiding away from coaching after a long run with the Pittsburgh Steelers. It seems like each year his name is thrown into a ring consisting of fellow ex-coach turned analyst Jon Gruden, Chip Kelly and, of course, Russ Grimm – who gets teased every season by a handful of organizations pretending to flaunt their interest in him.
It’s time for Cowher to return to the NFL. You’ll hear the Chicago Bears as a possible landing spot – with fans and media pushing how the McCaskey and Rooney family have a strong bond, and how the Bears have always been smitten with idea of Cowher being their head coach. Or even the lonesome Cleveland Browns might be mentioned, too, with new ownership searching for a new football mind.
Cowher would want full responsibilities of handling an entire roster and organization, so that quickly eliminates the Bears since Phil Emery is in charge of football operations. And as for the Browns? Well, Brandon Weeden and the rest of Cleveland’s roster won’t be chasing any AFC North Divisional titles soon, let alone a playoff run, so Cowher won’t even nibble at the opportunity to coach the Browns or any other team in rebuilding mode.
What Cowher needs is an organization that enables him to go about the Bill Parcells way: buy the groceries and cook the food. In other words, Cowher wants the power to sign/draft players and coach them, too. He also needs a roster that already has some instant impact players that could help him win in his return to the NFL.
There should be one team clamoring for Cowher to be their next coach, and that team is the Carolina Panthers.
Current Panthers head coach Ron Rivera hasn’t been able to get through with quarterback Cam Newton. While Newton’s play and leadership skills have been questioned on and off in his second season, how well the former No. 1 pick plays will determine how far the Panthers can go. After a slow start, Newton has shown flashes of his rookie form in five of his last six games. He’s undoubtedly one of the most talented players in the league. Newton is also a legitimate franchise quarterback that Cowher can continue to mold and build around.
In Carolina, Cowher could be that voice of reasoning for Newton and a Panthers’ roster that features some young players that have long term value on the defensive side: Charles Johnson, Luke Kuechly and even Jon Beason can be thrown into that conversation when he’s actually healthy.
Panthers’ owner Jerry Richardson should make every attempt to scoop Cowher from what will turn into a free-for-all-frenzy of plucking available coaches once vacancies open up throughout the NFL on Monday.