Bill Cowher vs. Jon Gruden: Which Coach Is More Likely to Flop in NFL Return?

CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 08:  Head coach Jon Gruden of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers watches during a game against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on December 8, 2008 in Charlotte, North Carolina  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Ryan PhillipsContributor IIIDecember 29, 2011

This week, both Jon Gruden and Bill Cowher have been rumored to be headed back to the NFL head coaching ranks. While that may or may not prove to be true, both guys will certain draw a fair amount of interest from teams with coaching vacancies. 

Still, to assume that either guy will immediately arrive on the scene and completely transform a franchise is giving them far too much credit.

And while I think Cowher's personality and coaching style could lead to an immediate improvement for a solid team, Gruden's style could actually end up not clicking with his players.

As I wrote earlier, Gruden possesses an excellent football mind and is a solid X's and O's guy. His West Coast system might take a full season or two to implement fully, but I think he is a fantastic offensive coordinator and play-caller. That said, he comes up short in some other areas as a head coach.

Whereas Cowher excels at player-coach interactions and generating a positive locker room atmosphere, some reports suggest Gruden actually gets down on his players fairly easily and has been adversarial at times with them.

That's not what players want in the league right now. Successful coaches in the NFL are generally guys who players want to play for and who inspire loyalty and respect. Gruden does not have that sort of reputation. Cowher does.

During his 15-year run with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Cowher always had the support of his players. While outside influences often called for his ouster, the strong-jawed coach always had the team on his side. 

That kind of personality and attitude breeds success, whereas Gruden's needling of players and lack of confidence or patience in his roster could prove to be disastrous.

As of now, I'd say Gruden is the more likely guy to go bust if he returns.

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