Boomer Esiason Hints Bill Cowher Interested in Return to Coaching


Getty Images Former Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Bill Cowher.

For several years after Bill Cowher resigned as head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers, rumors emerged on an annual basis that Cowher was pondering a return to coaching. But those rumors have mostly faded away, as the onetime NFL coach is now 63-years-old and hasn’t been on the sidelines since 2006.

But on Monday, Boomer Esiason, Cowher’s colleague on The NFL Today, seemed to indicate that Cowher is interested in coaching again—and that he has a particular team in mind, namely, the New York Jets. Esiason made the remarks on the Boomer & Gio Show on WFAN Radio in New York.

At first, Esiason’s co-host, Gregg Giannotti (Gio), tried to dismiss talk of Cowher to the Jets, but Esiason continued his narrative, which prompted Gio to say, “Every time someone has asked you about Cowher coming back you pour water out of a firehose on it, so this is a total 180.”

Esiason’s Thoughts on Cowher Returning to Coaching

Esiason started off by saying: “All I know is that yesterday, he was showing me and Nate (Burleson) film of him coaching on the sideline where he was mic’d up, and we looked at each other like, ‘Hmmm, what does that mean?’ Is he sending a message? I’ve worked with him for 14 years and I’ve never seen that.”

That’s innocuous enough, but then Esiason added: “He was saying to me yesterday, he’s the one that told me the Jets job is going to be really attractive, and they could hire whomever they want,” Boomer said, “and he told me he loves [Jets general manager] Joe Douglas,” who joined the organization in 2019.

Esiason likened the situation to a time—23 years earlier—when the Jets had the No. 1 pick in the draft and hired a proven winner in Bill Parcells to revive the franchise, with then-owner Leon Hess making Parcells the highest paid coach.

“All the chips have to fall in a row and then get pushed into the middle. I am not Bill’s agent, but I don’t know how you say no to that. But that’s just me,” concluded Esiason, implying that money would be a factor in Cowher’s thinking, as would the ability to utilize the first pick in the draft, presumably on generational quarterback prospect Trevor Lawrence (Clemson).

“If they have the No. 1 overall pick, the Jets job becomes the No. 1 job available, maybe with the exception of the Chargers,” Boomer opined, as the Chargers appear to already have a young franchise quarterback in Justin Herbert.

Bill Cowher Loves New York

Staying in New York would also seem to appeal to Cowher, as he is known to enjoy living in New York City, having referred to himself as “a full-fledged New Yorker” in 2017. He has also been linked to both the Giants and Jets in the past.

One other thing: Cowher’s wife Veronica is a “big-time Jets fan,” as Bill once put it, which would seem to be a positive in terms of getting her buy-in.

Of course, in order for Cowher to get the Jets head coaching job there would have to be an opening, but at 0-12 it’s hard to imagine current head coach Adam Gase has any expectation of returning next season, especially not after Sunday’s last-second home loss to the Las Vegas Raiders.

Bill Cowher’s Record as Coach of the Steelers

Cowher served as head coach of the Steelers between 1992 and 2006, compiling a regular-season record of 149-90-1. He also went 12-9-1 in the playoffs and took the team to two Super Bowls, winning Super Bowl XL over the Seattle Seahawks by a score of 21-10.

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