12/3/2010 98.5 Sports Radio Interview, Boston, MA
Guest: Bill Cowher, longtime NFL head coach and 2005 SB Champion Head Coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Tony Massarotti: Bill, as you can imagine, there was a great deal of interest here in the Josh McDaniels/Steve Scarnecchia story out in Denver. And, I certainly don’t need to refresh your memory on the link between the two organizations with Josh McDaniels. I know you have been asked about this…
But, for the benefit of our listeners here, is there any way in your mind that Josh McDaniels was not aware of what Steve Scarnecchia was doing?
Bill Cowher: Well, I don’t know, and in my opinion, and I ‘ll say this, and I said this last Suunday: I don’t know if any employee in any National Football League building, that doesn’t answer to some superior.
Even the head coach answers to the owner. And so, you are looking at a video guy, he was answering to somebody. I have a hard time believing he did that independently
That being said, it’s the responsibility of the organization and I think you have to be accountable for actions that are done within an organization.
The New England Patriots, they were given a very severe penalty when they were caught with that. I don’t see there being..I understand there is a difference…But again, to me, draft picks should have been taken away from the Denver Broncos.
That is the ultimate. You take away a draft pick and you’re saying it’s a very serious thing. Money?
Listen. These companies, these organizations, some of them are worth almost a billion dollars. So, you can fine them and that’s going to get lost somewhere in it, and I am not trying to diminish the effect of a fine, but you take away draft picks? And now you are talking about going to the very core of something unethical. And to me, there was not enough punishment done.
I don’t who the video guy was answering to, but he was answering to someone. I have a hard time believing it was done independently.
Michael Felger: While we’re on the topic, you lost some big games to the Patriots in that era. Do you feel that taping was a part of that story?
Bill Cowher: Ohhh! Heck no! I mean honestly, I, I, I, the taping that was involved in that story was the taping of Tom Brady making some pretty accurate throws. And that’s what beat us. That’s the only taping that I remember.
You know what? Listen: All that stuff at this point, a lot of it is overblown. Did they know our signals of our Monday night game when we came up there? Ya know? So what? Ok, sometimes I felt like we knew some plays and certain formations. The bottom line is you gotta execute. The bottom line is they completed passes. They beat 1 on 1 situations and we weren’t able to defend them.
So, you know what? The game is still played between the lines, the game is still played by men, it comes down to executing and certainly a little anticipation helps and if you some things pre-snap that will help you execute, so be it. Right now, all these things are moot points. Everybody has communications. Defense has it. Offense has it. All this signal calling and stealing of years past is just that: In the past.
Michael Felger: This is not, just cause it popped in my head, coach….Do you remember the AFC Championship game at your place when you have a 4th and 1? And BB called a timeout and called Ted Johnson over? And they had a little conversation and Johnson stopped , I guess it was Bettis? Short of the first down. Do you remember that play?
Bill Cowher: Yeah. Oh yeah. Yeah. And you know what? We called a timeout. How does he know what we are going to call in the huddle?
I mean, listen: They made the stop. We didn’t get em blocked. And ya know, and so, in hindsight, we should have ran to the other side (laughs all around). Listen: Those aren’t the ones. Those aren’t the signals. I don’t worry about that.
That’s not…Our offensive plays had been talked about and we talk through a headphone, and there is a formation we got involved with, we were going to run our play. And if New England gets into a formation, you know what they are going to run. Knowing what they are going to run is one thing, but having to stop it is another. The teams that can execute, even when the other team knows what you are doing, those are the teams that win championships. We weren’t good enough that day.
Tony Massarotti: Bill, this has obviously been a sensitive and widely dissected topic here now, for over 3 or 4 years……
It’s not as intense as it was then, but the McDaniels thing now has brought it back to the surface. It has been a point of discussion here, that, and the question was:
Does the Josh McDaniels thing ultimately lead back to the Patriots because of the fact he was a Belichick protégé? Throughout the rest of the league, do other people look at it that way? When this happened, did other people say, “well, what do you expect, he learned under Belichick and they got busted for it and now he’s doing it in Denver”….?
Bill Cowher: You know, let me just say this: To answer your question, no, I don’t think so. I just know as a head coach, you are always looking for a competitive edge. We had people out there trying to look at signals. We had guys go to games. They would tape the signal caller and also write it down. They would take it back and match up the signals with the game film and certain defenses with certain plays that were being called, particularly the defenses being called, to see if we could come up with some kind of an alert for a signal. So, what they did with videotaping the signal caller, people do it with the people in the stands!!
These people sitting there in the stands, looking at the signal, writing it down and matching up the 1st and 10 signal. Ok? Then you go back again and the 2nd and 10 and here’s the signal. You do that for a whole game.
You then go back and match up the defenses with the signal. And you can come up with what the signal was.
So, you don;’t need a video tape with what they were talking about doing. And people were doing it. WE were doing that. Everybody does that. You’re TRYING to gain a competitive edge. There is nothing wrong with that.
That’s why baseball players go through the mirage of signals. They’ve got all these different codes. That’s part of the competitive spirit of the game. I think it’s totally overblown. I think if you get caught (signals compromised), then do what we did and go to wristbands, you are worried about it. We started putting defenses on wristbands. Then you find a way to not get caught (signals compromised). When your good at something and people try steal from ya, I think it’s flattering.