Cowher Concedes Division to Bengals
"I feel it is the right move."
AP - Tuesday, 29 August 2006
In a stunning move on Tuesday, Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Bill Cowher has officially conceded this years divisional race to the rival Cincinnati Bengals. The Steelers defeated the Bengals twice last season (including the playoffs) but the Super Bowl champion head coach strongly feels that the pre-season success of this years Bengal team has proven to be much too intimidating for him and his players to deal with.
"They are a great, great team" said Cowher. "I don't think I have ever seen such a pre-season performance. They are clicking on all cylinders and quite frankly I don't see how we as a football team can compete with them. I feel it is the right move."
When Cowher was asked about the outlook on his own team, he stated, "We have to keep things in perspective. It's a long season and we are where we are. The Bengals have been where they are for quite some time now and they are peaking at the right time. They are a hungry team. They are a focused team."
Inside sources have stated that Cowher's wife, Kaye Cowher, was instrumental in helping the coach make this surprising decision. Mrs. Cowher reportedly stressed the return of Carson Palmer as the deciding factor in her husbands decision. She allegedly stated that he would often wake up in the middle of the night "in a cold sweat", but the head coach would never reveal to his wife what was actually happening. Weeks later Cowher hit her with the news. "I sat her down and told her that the dreams and the nightmares were all about the Bengals and the return of Carson Palmer. It was really starting to take its toll in my personal life."
Some of the Steelers players were reached for comment this afternoon, including outspoken linebacker Joey Porter. "Coach made the right decision. I'm not going to stand here and say that I like it, but he's the coach. I mean, really. Did you guys see Carson play last night? Would you want to face him twice a year? We just felt that it's not in our best interest."
Steelers safety Troy Polamalu was best friends with Palmer while they both played at USC. "It's a good thing. I wish Carson the best. I don't think I could compete on the same level out there with Carson as the opposing QB. The preparation, the films, the staying up all night worrying about the Bengals and what they bring....it really takes its toll. This move by coach Cowher really allows us to refocus and get back to our plan."
Bengals coach Marvin Lewis commended Cowher on his move. "It's great that he can give us the respect we deserve. I admit that I was pretty irritated by him mimicking our "who-dey" chant after last years Super Bowl, but hey, he made up for it with this." Lewis was referring to the Steelers victory parade in downtown Pittsburgh back in early February. Cowher was at the podium addressing the frenzied crowd and started mocking the Bengals well-known team chant.
The Steelers open the NFL season September 7th at home against the Miami Dolphins. The Bengals open on the road against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, September 10th.