Former Steelers Coach Bill Cowher received the Pat Summerall Award at the Legends of Charity Dinner held in Atlanta, an event that benefitted the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
“It is a true honor to receive the Pat Summerall Award. Pat was an icon. He was a special broadcaster and even better person,” said Cowher. “I grew up watching him and it is humbling to be in the elite company of the previous recipients.”
Cowher spent 15 seasons at the helm for the Steelers, including leading the team to a victory over the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XL. Cowher retired from coaching in 2007, and went on to become a studio analyst for the NFL Today on CBS. It’s that work in the studio that Cowher was honored for.
“I watch him quite a bit on there,” said Jerome Bettis, the Hall of Fame running back who flourished under Cowher. “Just like he did with our team, he adds that calmness, that stablility they need on the show. A couple of guys go here, go there, off the rails.
“He is stable. He breaks it down, explains to you what is going in terms you understand. That is who coach has been his whole career, he always explained it to us in a way we can understand. That is what coach is doing now, he is just appealing to the masses and not just us.”
Calmness. Yes Bettis used that to describe Cowher. Not something many would expect, but something that is fitting.
“When you are trying to get across to guys you have to talk a certain way,” said Bettis. “He is one way behind the scenes when it was time for him to be a teacher. There was another side when he had to be a fiery coach on the sideline because that’s when his energy came out, his passion showed. On television he is doing more teaching and explaining than coaching, so every now and then you see him get fired up.”
Cowher is the 14th recipient of the award and while Bettis loves to see what he is doing on camera, it was his time coaching the Steelers that will always special.
“From a coach-player standpoint, he was one of the best coaches I ever had,” said Bettis. “He understood me. He understood what it took to get me going. He said the right things at the right time. He was a huge influence in terms of my life, understanding if I needed encouragement he gave it to me, if I needed pushed he gave it to me.
“He allowed me to develop into the player I became because of his belief in what he thought I was capable of doing. For that I am always in his debt and owe him so much for that.”