The Cowher Years: A Golden Era?

So Bill Cowher has resigned as coach from the Steelers, ending the Bill Cowher Era in the Steel City.

As much as criticism as Cowher has received during his 15-year tenure (and believe me, I’ll be the first to say he should have won at least 3 Super Bowls during his reign), I’m going to go on record and say that future generations will look back on the Bill Cowher Era as a Golden Era in Steelers history.

Here is what he accomplished in his 15 years:

  • 10 playoff appearances
  • 8 division titles
  • 6 appearances in AFC Title games
  • 2 AFC Championships
  • 1 Super Bowl championship

For all the disappointment over Cowher’s 2-4 record in AFC championship games, the fact remains that Cowher-coached teams reached the NFL’s Final Four 40% of the time.

Perhaps even more remarkable is the consistency and longevity of this success: the Steelers never went more than four seasons without appearing in the title game. In other words, since 1992, a young Steelers fan couldn’t get through high school without the Steelers playing in a conference championship game.

Despite this level of success, the Steelers and Cowher have probably caused their fans as much heartburn as joy over the past 15 years. Is this because Steelers Nation is spoiled? Or is it simply human nature to take what you have for granted?

If the Cowher Era truly turns out, in retrospect, to have been a Golden Era, there were few fans who would have predicted it in January of 1995, 1998, 2002, or 2005. Which causes one two wonder: how often do people actually realize that they were living in a Golden Era?

With that in mind, here are some suggestions of Golden Eras that I’ve had the good fortune to live through, most of which I did not recognize as Golden at the time.

  • 1992 — 2005: The Golden Era of Bill Cowher
    See above.
  • 1990 — 1998: The Golden Era of the Pittsburgh Penguins
    Four division titles, three trips to the conference finals, two conference championships, and two Stanley Cups. Fans got to see future Hall-of-Famers Lemieux, Jagr, Francis, Barasso, Trottier, Murphy, and Mullen. Mary J. Blige and Snoop Dogg wore Penguins gear in their videos. And Sudden Death featured the Penguins mascot in a fight sequence.
  • 1970 — 1979: The Golden Era of the Pittsburgh Pirates
    During the 70s, the Pirates won six NL East titles, two National League pennants, and two World Series.
  • 1972 — 1980: The Golden Era of the Steelers Dynasty
    I don’t really need to write anything else here, do I?
  • 1984 — 1987: Golden Age of Must-See-TV
    The Cosby Show, Family Ties, Cheers, Night Court
  • 1985 — 1989: The Golden Era of Daily Comics
    During this span, The Far Side, Calvin & Hobbes, and Bloom County could be found in your daily paper.
  • 1977 — 1983: Golden age of Nerd Culture
    The original Star Wars Trilogy; the publication of the AD&D Dungeon Master’s Guide, Player’s Handbook, and Monster Manual; the TRS-80, TI-99, Apple IIe developed; Atari 2600, Intellivision, and Colecovision released; Rubik’s Cube first sold in the U.S.

Have you lived through a Golden Era? Did you realize it at the time? Are we living in a Golden Era now?

Add your comments about Bill Cowher and/or Golden Eras

1 comment to The Cowher Years: A Golden Era?

  • Augie Manfredo

    Don’t forget the golden era from when I was the one in charge around the house. Ahhh the good old days.