The awkward day we've anticipated for nearly four years could very well happen in the next few months: Pittsburgh's own Bill Cowher could find himself on a new sideline. And to further hammer that point home, a list has surfaced of the jobs currently occupied that The Jaw has his eye on.
So what gig can Santa bring Mr. Bill? His wish list reportedly runs just three deep: the long-rumored New York Giants, the Houston Texans, and the Miami Dolphins.
The Giants are currently 9-5 and coming off a mind-blowing loss to Philadelphia yesterday. Tom Coughlin has never been a player favorite per se, but he did win a Super Bowl for the organization and it may take a total collapse for him to be shown the door. Then again, his team showed yesterday that they're fully capable of total collapses.
Houston seems like a realistic possibility; Gary Kubiak's team seems to find new ways to lose every week, and sits at a disappointing 5-9 in a season that started with dreams of winning the division. Kubiak's teams have personified mediocrity, with finishes of 8-8, 8-8, and 9-7 on his resume, so he doesn't have a fantastic track record to reflect on; he could be in legitimate trouble.
PFT just pointed out owner Bob McNair might not be ready to hit Kubiak's eject seat, but the coach has a career record of 36-42 with three last-place finishes and no playoff appearances since arriving in 2006. If Bill Cowher is rested, available, and interested, I think you make the change if you're McNair.
For Cowher, Houston also gives him a nice entry point. The Texans have a good owner and a solid quarterback, with a host of other weapons. His division opponents would include Jacksonville (like Houston, perennially scared to take the next step), Tennessee (quit on its coach) and Indianapolis, which has shown signs of decline this season. That's a lot better than facing Andy Reid/Michael Vick, a Dallas team that will probably be improved, and a Washington squad moving away from the McNabb/Haynesworth era on a regular basis. And to top off the Houston pitch, there's no state income tax, so that means Cowher takes home a bigger portion of what he actually earned. I don't know anyone who would have a problem with that.
Miami, like Houston, offers the same tax advantage, but division opponents include two teams at the top who are a combined 22-6 (New England, NY Jets), which makes it one of the tougher divisions to call home. There's nice, sunny weather, but their QB position is the least stable of the three options; that's a major factor.
The Dolphins are desperate for a winner, and have been in the playoffs once (2008) in the past nine seasons. But I'd be a bit surprised if Cowher took his coaching talents to South Beach.