Cowher now a big deal in Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH – Bill Cowher last coached the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2006, but his popularity has only increased since then.

Cowher is getting the same kind of retroactive love that enveloped Terry Bradshaw as the years passed following his 1983 departure from Pittsburgh.

Those misty water-colored memories become warmer and fuzzier as fans grow more disenchanted with the people currently occupying their old jobs.

Cowher was never this popular when he was actually coaching the Steelers. Then he was just a guy who lost too many big games and hired the wrong offensive coordinators (some things never change). People spread vicious rumors about him.

Bradshaw wasn’t that beloved even when the Steelers were winning four Super Bowls. A lot of people thought they won a couple in spite of him and wondered what might have happened if the Steelers would have had installed Terry Hanratty at quarterback.

Bradshaw started looking better and better when the Steelers cranked up that Cliff Stoudt-Mark Malone-Bubby Brister medley after he left.

A lot of people don’t like Mike Tomlin. Sure, he won a Super Bowl, but the complaint is he did it with Cowher’s players. (Never mind that Cowher went 8-8 and missed the playoffs with those players in his last season).

Thanks to the dissatisfaction with Tomlin, a lot of people would endorse putting Cowher’s granite jaw on a Mt. Washington version of Mount Rushmore, right alongside Chuck Noll.

Never mind those four losses in AFC Championship games.

The good part of this is the current Steelers should know that some day they’ll be beloved, too. It just won’t happen while they’re actually playing.

When Ben Roethlisberger is 50, he won’t be the guy who held the ball too long. He’ll be fondly remembered as the guy who could extend a play better than anyone.

Crazy money

Oh, those evil Seattle Mariners and their open checkbook.

Nobody expected Lloyd McClendon’s new team to make the biggest splash in free agency by signing Robinson Cano to a contract that makes no sense on any level.

Cano has a 10-year contract, which will keep him on the Mariners’ payroll until age 41. Ever since baseball cracked down on steroids, the idea of senior citizen superstars has diminished, so it’s highly likely Cano will be a major burden to the Mariners in 2023.

In fact, if baseball’s actuary tables are accurate, it’s likely the Mariners are buying far more of Cano’s declining years than his peak seasons.

The deal is worth $240 million. Perspective: It cost $216 million to build PNC Park. That translates into $285 million in 2013 dollars, but you get the point.

Contracts have been tilting toward the insane this offseason since teams all have some extra money from national TV rights. When Jacoby Ellsbury gets $153 million for seven years, you realize how fortunate the Pirates were to lock up six years of Andrew McCutchen for $51.5 million.

Mehno can be reached at