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Former Steelers head coach and Hall of Famer Bill Cowher recently had a one-on-one interview with Ed Bouchette of The Athletic about his new memoir Heart and Steel, which came out this past Tuesday. Cowher touched on some of the key topics in his discussion with Bouchette, but one subject that you won't find in the book is the notorious Spygate.
If it wasn't for Spygate and the Steelers' losses to the Patriots in the 2001 and 2004 AFC Championship Games, Cowher could have had two more Super Bowl appearances and would have had the opportunity to win more than just one Super Bowl.
“It’s only cheating if you get caught,” Cowher told Bouchette. “Like any player, if you’re going to hold him, don’t get caught. If you get caught you’re wrong, if you don’t you’re right. I always thought we never lost the games to New England because of Spygate. If [Belichick] got the [defensive] calls because we didn’t do a very good job of making sure we signaled those in, that’s on us, it’s not on him. Because we’re always looking for competitive edges. I think as any coach whether it’s someone’s stance, someone’s split, someone’s formation [that tips off a play]. You’re looking at someone’s eyes, how are they coming out of a huddle? You’re always looking for those little things that give you a competitive edge and that to me is what that was.”
Cowher was on 93.7 The Fan on Thursday morning and he reiterated his comments in regards to Spygate not being the reason for his two AFC Championship losses to New England.
“I hate losing. I don’t like losing. But I’m not going to sit there and blame somebody else and say, ‘Oh you cheated, I’m going to take my ball and go home,'" Cowher said. "No. You beat us. You won. And I’m waiting for the next time we play each other.”
Cowher also said that he has a “very good” relationship with Bill Belichick and has “so much respect” for him. Cowher and Belichick go way back, as Cowher interviewed to become the defensive backs coach for the Giants when Belichick was the defensive coordinator. He declined and instead went to Kansas City to become the defensive coordinator on Marty Schottenheimer’s staff. However, the two kept in close contact until they became adversaries when Belichick became the head coach in Cleveland in 1991 and Cowher was hired as the Steelers head coach in 1992. Also, the Browns' head coaching position in 1991 came down to Belichick and Cowher.
Cowher mentioned in an interview yesterday on 93.2 The Fan in Cleveland that he once flew to Giants Stadium and spent an entire day exchanging ideas on defensive back and linebacker play with Belichick.
I didn't really realize how close Cowher and Belichick were until Cowher's latest interviews. It all makes sense, however. Cowher and his wife, Veronica, were with Belichick and his girlfriend, Linda Holliday, at the Super Bowl in Miami in 2020 after it was announced that Cowher made the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Belichick also reportedly called Cowher after the Patriots lost to the Broncos in the 2005 Divisional Round game and asked him if he wanted to know anything about Denver. Belichick also gave Super Bowl tips to Cowher.