Cowher: Steelers Lost Accountability, Need To Get It Back

The Steelers have problems; Bill Cowher has solutions

Tiki and Tierney
January 29, 2019 - 5:19 pm

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The Pittsburgh Steelers have traditionally been one of the most professional franchises in the NFL. A model of consistency and stability.

The 2018 season, however, was an exception. 

From Le’Veon Bell to Antonio Brown to missing the playoffs for the first time in five seasons, the Steelers experienced their fair share of drama – and it’s continued into the offseason, as AB and the Steelers could ultimately part ways.

Bill Cowher hopes that doesn’t happen.

“Let me capsize the season as I saw it,” the former Steelers coach began on Tiki & Tierney. “I think this was a season where a lot of these close games they played in, they lost this year. They had some missed kicks, they had some turnovers, lost to some teams they probably shouldn’t have. So they lost their margin of error. I thought they played their best football down the stretch. They beat the New England Patriots. They go down to New Orleans (and played) a game they could have won – and probably should have won. So they fell short. 

“Ultimately, I think a lot of frustration set in starting with all that frustration at the beginning from the season to Antonio at the end of the season,” Cowher continued. “I would like to think at this point that Mike Tomlin, Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown come into a room, shut the door, and I would just say, ‘How did we get here? How did we get here? Where are we? And more importantly, we’ve done too much together. Can we move forward? Can we just be open about where we are? Can we move forward?’”

If the answer is no, that is bad for all parties involved.

“They got a window of time,” Cowher said. “Whether it’s two or three years, you have with you right now a football team offensively that can make the next step. You got an offensive line in place, you got parts there, you got a couple running backs. You got an opportunity with a defense that I thought got better as the season went on and was playing their best at the end of the season.

“But again, I would say this,” Cowher continued. “You shut the door, and let’s be honest with each other. How did we get here? Each one of you take onus. Maybe it starts with me if I’m the head coach. I allowed this to get to this point. Ben, Antonio: can we move forward? Can we let bygones be bygones, the past be in the past? We all take separate responsibility for how this ended up being where it is now, being played out in public opinion in the public forum, which unfortunately is what’s happening. Let’s go and put everything aside. When we open up this door, history was too important to us to let this past season’s frustrations destroy what we’ve taken a long time to create.”

Brandon Tierney believes such a meeting could – and should – occur. But what if it’s lip service? What if everyone leaves the meeting on the same page but then the same problems resurface in Week 3?

“I think when you shut a door with three men, they understand what’s at stake,” Cowher said. “If it does resurface, you understand what the circumstances are. I think I would lay out: ‘If it’s something that shows up again, here’s what’s going to happen.’ Make sure you lay out the expectation levels that you have for everyone. Start with yourself first, and from there moving forward, hold people accountable. Accountability, maybe it’s been lost. We need to gather it back.”