Analysis

Former coach Bill Cowher loving 'balance' in life

Bill Cowher burst into the locker room.

"All right guys, we're getting killed out there," Cowher bellows to the assembled players. His veins look like they are about to explode from his neck.

The former Pittsburgh Steelers coach showed he still has it. He was featured in a recent ad along with former coaches Dick Vermeil and Herm Edwards for the NFL Alumni Association and Cancer Treatment Centers of America to raise awareness for prostate cancer.

Usually, directors require their actors -- in this case Cowher -- to endure numerous takes during a film shoot. But he says he quickly nailed his scene.

"It seemed pretty natural," Cowher said. "When you do something all of your life, it's still ingrained in you."

However, before anyone gets any ideas, that commercial is about as close as Cowher plans to get to coaching these days. He has gone from a veteran coach to a veteran broadcaster.

Cowher is now in his 10th season as an analyst for CBS' "NFL Today." Besides his duties on the Sunday pregame show, he also is at the game site every week for "Thursday Night Kickoff" on CBS and NFL Network; Thursday he will be in San Diego for the Broncos-Chargers game.

Cowher, 59, still doesn't completely rule out a possible return to the sidelines at some point. He insists there is no reason to close any doors, saying he feels better than ever.

The coaching option, though, currently isn't on the table. Cowher seemed pleased to note that there was a marked reduction in his name coming up in speculation about vacancies this year. As he gets further removed from coaching his final game in 2006, the winning coach of Super Bowl XL appears less likely to get back into the game.

Why would he? Cowher repeatedly brought up how much he loves "the balance" he now has with his life. Cowher's role at CBS allows him to remain connected to the NFL. However, unlike the 15 years he spent as Pittsburgh's head coach, he has an off-season when he gets completely away from football.

Cowher enjoys traveling with his wife Veronica (a musician also known as Queen V) for her shows. He spends time with his three daughters and his grandchildren.

The best part? After being in the fish bowl in Pittsburgh all those years, he revels being able to walk down the streets of New York without being noticed.

"Just like a normal guy," Cowher said. "I'm from Pennsylvania, and that love for the simplicity of life never left me. I enjoy having all those elements now."

Make no mistake, Cowher still competes. Now it is about getting better as a broadcaster and helping his current team, CBS.

Cowher says it has been "a growing experience" since his debut as an analyst in 2007.

"When you become a head coach, you've played the game; you've coached the game. You have a great understanding of what happens at every level," Cowher said. "Then fast-forward, and you go into live TV with no experience. It's like, 'OK, let's do this.'"

Cowher said his goal is try to explain the game from a coach's and player's perspective. He also knows there is a premium on him being candid and not holding back in his analysis.

"Criticism is a big part of this job," Cowher said. "I have a responsibility to call it the way I see it. If a team isn't playing well, you have to call it that way. Coaches understand that."

Cowher's current job has given him a chance to get a different perspective of the game. A big observation: He notices how a team issue or problem gets "magnified" much more in the media compared to what really is happening in the locker room.

"There is a lot of noise, as we used to say, on the outside," Cowher said. "Every loss, and it's doom and gloom. Sometimes, it takes on a life of its own. But inside, you realize the season is a journey. (The issue) is something you discuss and then you quickly move on to get ready for the next game."

Cowher now is even closer to the game with his additional duties working with James Brown and Deion Sanders on "Thursday Night Kickoff." After the pregame show, Cowher watches the game from the sidelines.

"I love being there and feeling the vibe of the game," Cowher said.

For now, that is as close as Cowher intends to get to actual game action. Outwardly, he doesn't seem to miss the highs and lows of being a coach.

"I haven't lost a game in 10 years," said Cowher, quickly adding, "I haven't won one either."

As for the future, when asked if he could see himself spending the next 10 years at CBS, Cowher again brought up what is the key word for him: Balance.

"I like what I am doing," Cowher said. "I feel healthy. I enjoy the balance I have in my life."

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