View Full Version : The business of being Bill Cowher.....

01-06-2007, 08:48 PM
Fans see wins and losses as the benchmarks measuring team and coaching success. Their goal is to see their team win games – its not financial – its purely emotional.


However, owners have different perspectives. Yes, the want to win. But first and foremost is team revenue, team profit and team valuation. The organization is a business first, a sports team second.

And coaches understand this – they understand that their actions have a bottom-line effect on the businesses they are expected to run and how that team is ultimately valuated.

And over the past five years, only three teams in the NFL have seen their team valuation grow more than the Pittsburgh Steelers' – New England’s at 124%, Seattle’s at 102% and Indianapolis’ at 100%. Dallas, Denver, Baltimore, Washington, Miami – they have all grown at a lesser rate than Pittsburgh (88% over the past five years).

Pittsburgh is now valuated at $880 million – up $332 million since 2001 alone.

Furthermore, only two teams have seen their revenue grow faster as well over the past five years. Pittsburgh’s has grown by 72% - from $109 million to $187 million. Only Denver (80%) and New England (95%) have shown greater growth.

What do you attribute this growth to?

Winning. The teams at the top of the growth lists win, pure and simple. No teams experienced more success over the past five years than New England, Seattle, Indianapolis and Pittsburgh.

Yet, how does that tie back to coaches and what Bill Cowher, for example, should earn?

And there’s the rub.

Cowher obviously understood his value was much greater than simple wins and losses – he saw the growth numbers and obviously understood his direct impact on them. But, what do those growth numbers mean for an owner’s reciprocity to his coach?

To Paul Allen and Seattle, it meant $8 million for head coach Mike Holmgren after losing to Cowher in the Super Bowl. But despite a 2005 operating income of $36.5 million (over $23 million more than Seattle’s), the Rooneys seemed ill-prepared (or just plain reticent) to give away 11% of that operating income in a four million dollar raise for Bill Cowher to give him the reportedly asked-for $7 million salary. Perhaps in part due to the fact that operating incomes are so volatile in the NFL due to the effects of the myriad ways teams address contracts to overcome salary cap limitations, the Rooneys felt seven million was simply too much.

At the end of the day, Cowher saw his impact on the team’s growth, the rewards others in very similar positions got for similar successes, and simply made a decision to ask for what he felt he was worth. Unfortunately, that was more than the Rooneys would ultimately give.

But it’s understandable how Cowher got to his number of seven million. The operating income allowed for it, the growth he brought to the team was top five in the NFL – he earned it. And it was less than a man he just beat in the Super Bowl.

However, it’s also apparent that Cowher played the system well. Due to NFL rules, he can resign for the time remaining on his contract (just one year) and become a “free agent” again in 2008, where he’s almost certain to make his eight million or more. What’s one year out of work to a man set to make seven-plus million per year, and who’s made millions already? Cowher made a business decision – take nothing now for the gamble of earning more later. NFL rules are set up to allow freedom from his contract only one year after his resignation – and Cowher used that rule to his advantage.

In the end, the Rooneys gambled too - making a business decision of their own, that they can find an equally capable coach for less money than Cowher demanded to carry on Pittsburgh’s profitable and winning ways. Perhaps, factored in, was the cost of losing valuable assistants like Grimm and/or Whisenhunt if Cowher were to stay.

But ultimately, these decisions become financial ones – and ergo monetary risks. It’s obvious that, if nothing else, the Rooneys saw a greater financial risk in paying Bill Cowher $7 million than they did in replacing him.

Which, in and of itself, seems to speak volumes about their thoughts on whether Cowher could maintain his outstanding performance in Pittsburgh going forward.

By Ron Lippock
For SteelCityInsider.com
Posted Jan 6, 2007

One way or another its about the money. I believe Cowher could've maintained his outstanding performance with the Steelers but I guess the Rooneys feel like nobody is worth that kind of money. The Rooneys have been in business a long time and know what they are doing. The Steelers will be fine.....:helmet:

01-06-2007, 09:28 PM
The Steelers are a popular team all around the world, and since BC has been there it's just been blossoming into something even more special than anybody could have predicted.

01-07-2007, 12:59 AM
I don't personally think it was Cowher that made the Steelers blossom he just kept a tradition going (IMO)

Yes the Steelers are very popular all around the world, I talked to a guy about the Steelers this past summer while riding the Subway in Madrid Spain!

01-07-2007, 02:23 AM
There are those who would've liked to think that money didn't influence his decision. But it was rumored, and like I said in an earlier post--a rumor is like smoke, and where there's smoke, there's fire, so I knew there had to be truth to it.

Black@Gold Forever32
01-07-2007, 02:39 AM
Well money played some kind of factor and I don't care what Bill says it did. But I understand pro sports is a business. So I'm not mad at Cowher. Plus Cowher wasn't going to coach this team forever. So it was time for a change. Who knows it could of maybe gotten really ugly between Cowher and Art Rooney the II in a few years.

01-07-2007, 09:40 PM
Well money played some kind of factor and I don't care what Bill says it did. But I understand pro sports is a business. So I'm not mad at Cowher. Plus Cowher wasn't going to coach this team forever. So it was time for a change. Who knows it could of maybe gotten really ugly between Cowher and Art Rooney the II in a few years.

There was a money factor for sure.

There was a Steelers roundtable on Sportsbeat on FSN Pittsburgh on Friday Night(Ed Bouchette, Gerry Dulac, Paul Alexander and Stan Savran).......Ed Bouchette and Gerry Dulac both said there was clear and present money issue that came to a head back in August.
Both Dulac and Bouchette were told by Cowher and those close to the situation that evidently Bill Cowher felt that there was "slight" by the Steelers particulary from Art Rooney II who didn't want to even come close to Mike Holmgren's salary in Seattle and that the best the Steelers were offering which was $6.5 million was going to come in the final years of the contract that was put on the table.

They noted that there was a frosty tension between Bill Cowher and Art Rooney II during the press conference on Friday.

01-08-2007, 10:35 AM
Well as a fan, you can say that Bill is a jerk or you can say that the Rooneys are being cheap. Either way, we don't know everything and probably never will. Bill has been with us for 15 years, and in that time he has brought a DB trophy back to Pittsburgh. He does deserve compensation for those achievements if he stayed with the Steelers. However, the ROoneys seem to think they can carry on the continued sucess of the Steelers with someone else and for a lot less money. I would want more if I was in Cowher's shoes and I think all of us would (even though it's hard for us to think about it because he makes more than most of us could probably imagine) looking at it from his point of view, why should the cry baby in Seattle be making this much more than him and he hasn't done anything but lose a SB to Cowher. This article isn't even saying he wants to make 8 million he was actually asking for one million less than the Holmgren, and why shouldn't he have wanted that. He has given the Steelers 15 years and a SB. Oh well, it's over now and time to search for his replacement.

House of Steel
01-08-2007, 10:40 AM
I am hearing things aren't going well between Cowher and Art Rooney II that it has become a cold day in hell between them two. I bet you any money that had a lot to do with Cowher retiring. I wonder what the hell happened between them two for this to evolve.

01-08-2007, 10:56 AM
I now feel it's all about the money! At first I thought no way, he just wants a break. But seeing how he just stepped down from HC that leads me to believe he'll hold out the 07' season in hopes of a huge contract in 08'.

The thing that chaps my *** is, I personally feel he blew this season for us! Play calling lack of fire, he just wanted to get it over with as soon as possible to start his vac.!!

Yea yea I know, he didn't cause the fumbles / picks, but he is in control and is responsible to make the changes needed to fixing the problem...