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If Mangini gets the boot, Jets need Bill Cowher


Jetscode1

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Let the fun begin...another hack calling for Cowher...does anyone know if he has any real interest other than using us to get a bigger payday...gotta think we have more to offer (cash + opportunity) than the Clowns. OTOH...what happens to Tannenbaum...the plot thickens...though I wish the new NFL was more about football than entertainment dollars...

Bob Glauber

11:14 PM EST, December 22, 2008

As the Jets careen toward yet another horrifying ending to a season that once seemed so filled with promise, Eric Mangini has one last chance to jump-start his flailing team. He can get the Jets into the playoffs with a win over Miami and some help from Buffalo or Jacksonville.

But even if the Jets somehow sneak into January with one last gasp, nothing short of a meaningful postseason run should stop them from considering a bold move that might solve the coaching issue once and for all.

It is time for former Steelers coach Bill Cowher to enter the equation as the potential savior of a franchise that has experienced far too many late-season meltdowns like this one. Having lost three of their last four, having seen Brett Favre look every bit his 39 years, and having let opportunity slip from their hands yet again, the Jets must consider a serious run at Cowher.

He is said to be ready to return to the sideline after a two-year recharging of his emotional batteries. And if the Jets cannot summon the will to get into the playoffs and do something significant once they get there, owner Woody Johnson needs to be ready to pony up a massive contract to entice the former Super Bowl-winning coach out of retirement.

League sources say the Browns remain the odds-on choice to land Cowher, 51, who played in Cleveland and began his coaching career there under Marty Schottenheimer. But that was before the Jets' season went into free fall, before they frittered away an 8-3 record.

So if the $152 million that Johnson pumped into the team this year goes to waste and the Jets are on the outside looking in on the playoffs, surely Johnson will consider parting ways with Mangini. If the Jets don't make the postseason, there's no way Mangini should continue.

What better coach to replace him than Cowher, a perennial winner with the Steelers who captured Super Bowl XL after the 2005 season, then stepped away a year later. Cowher was 166-99-1 during his run with the Steelers from 1992-2006 and consistently was one of the top coaches in the league. In his 15 seasons, the Steelers won eight division titles, went to the playoffs 10 times, played 21 postseason games, made the AFC Championship Game six times and played in two Super Bowls, winning one.

Playoff disappointments? Sure. But I'd take that resume any day to lead a Jets team sorely in need of an elite coach to push it in the right direction.

Cowher is just the kind of emotional sparkplug the Jets need, a guy who will get in players' faces the way few coaches can. He's a major contrast with the placid Mangini, who too often shows no emotion in a game that thrives on it. If players reflect the personality of their coach, then the Jets have adopted Mangini's flat-line temperament.

My sense is Mangini likes to think his even-keeled approach reflects his belief that consistency is the path to success. But unlike others whose impassive demeanors have worked for them -- Tom Landry and Tony Dungy come to mind -- Mangini's players don't respond with the kind of emotional play necessary for success at the highest level.

I'm not saying a coach has to scream bloody murder every Sunday. But the Jets too often seem robotic when they play. They don't exhibit the kind of fire and passion that often can elevate a good football team into a great one.

Put Cowher on the sideline and this team will play with more fire and more heart, guaranteed. And if they do lose, there'll be a price to pay.

Cowher always brought out the best in his players, mostly by demanding that they learn sound fundamental technique but also by getting in their faces and screaming so loudly that his spittle sprayed through facemasks. He demands accountability -- up close and personal.

Mangini too often is a silent bystander, folding his arms and chewing his gum while his team under-performs.

What the Jets need is a coach who will not stand for mediocrity, a coach who will make players aware in no uncertain terms that poor play is unacceptable.

That coach is Cowher.

And that's why Johnson must be prepared to plunk down whatever amount of money it takes to convince the jut-jawed coach that it is time to come out of the broadcast booth and revive this franchise.

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