Bill Cowher spent his entire head coaching career with the Pittsburgh Steelers, winning one Super Bowl title and having only three losing seasons in 15 years.
On Saturday, Cowher was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in a surprise announcement that took place on CBS’ NFL pregame show before the Baltimore Ravens played the Tennessee Titans. Cowher was greeted by Hall of Fame President and CEO David Baker during the broadcast, along with his family.
The show’s co-hosts all held up black T-shirts with “Hall of Fame” and “Bill Cowher” written in gold letters.
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“Football is a total team sport,” Cowher said. “I had some great players, some great coaches, the best organization in football. I’ve lived a blessed life. I’ve come to the best network on TV. It’s a family here, like it was a family that we had there.
“And, to have to give back just something to the game of football, that’s been a part of my life, the virtues that it teaches you, the morals that you have the obligation to move on, the platforms that we have, you know, I’m a blessed man and I’ve been very blessed to have been surrounded by some very special people.”
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Cowher had an overall record of 161-99-1 before he retired and passed the reins to Mike Tomlin.
A special panel met at the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, on Wednesday to elect the centennial slate of this year’s inductees, marking the first time any members were elected during a selection meeting held there.
The centennial slate included 10 “seniors,” three “contributors” and two “coaches” Seniors were considered players who last hit the field more than 25 seasons ago. Contributors included people other than players or coaches.
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“I don’t think it’s hit me yet,” Cowher said. “I mean, what can I say? I just think about the players. I just think about the Pittsburgh franchise and Dan Rooney when he hired me, he took a chance on a 34-year-old kid from Crafton, Pennsylvania, and my first goal was just to not get fired before my 20th high school class reunion.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.