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Is John Fox's Job Secure?

Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette thinks Carolina would be one of three teams interested in Bill Cowher at the end of this season. If you recall his reasons for retiring he said his wife was tired of Pittsburgh and wanted to live in Raleigh which happens to be commutable to Charlotte.

Cowher still would be coaching the Steelers if the Rooneys had come up with the jack. Forget the party line that he wanted to spend more time with his family in North Carolina. He won a Super Bowl and was insulted the team didn't offer him more in a contract extension. That's his right. It's also the right of the Rooneys, who don't overpay for anyone.

Wow, I have to admit I bought into the retirement thing. Being a southern guy, spending 15 years in Pittsburgh and the cold would drive me nuts. Yet if Cook is right about Cowher looking to get back in the game after this season then the Panthers would be a good fit. John Fox might have something to say about that.

Carolina would be convenient for Cowher because of his new mansion in Raleigh, but Fox might not be going anywhere. His five seasons with the Panthers have gone like this: 7-9, Super Bowl, 7-9, NFC championship game, 8-8. Do you see a trend? Fox and the Panthers are on schedule to have a big year.

If the Panthers do have a big year, meaning at least one victory in the playoffs, then Fox’s job is very secure. As a fan you just want your team to be competitive every year and Fox ensures that. Now if the Panthers tank this year by going worse than 7-9 after a very demoralizing 2006 then I think Cowher does enter the picture. Now let me say I like John Fox, I think he’s a good coach, and I’ve forgiven him for that backwards pass on the punt return against Minnesota last year.  His teams rarely appear overmatched or unprepared.  

On the other hand I’m not that enamored with Bill Cowher. I still remember his experimental days with Slash at QB and the resulting down period Cook refers to in the article. You could make the argument that without Big Ben there is no SB victory for ‘the chin’. There is also the fact Bill is your proto-typical Yankee who’s northern accent may not fly in the Deep South.  Fans can be fickle in the south and Fox has Panthers fans looking for a SB victory. Any new coach would not have a long honeymoon to get the Panthers to the Promise Land.

I think all this talk will be dead by December as the Panthers will emerge as one of the better teams in the NFC. Let Bill Cowher look elsewhere.