Bill Cowher's headed all the way from Crafton to Canton.
The Steelers' longtime coach, architect of 10 playoff teams in 15 seasons and winner of Super Bowl XL, was informed he'd been elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame shortly after 8 p.m. Saturday in a surprise announcement on the live set of CBS Sports' pregame show before the Ravens-Titans playoff game. David Baker, the Hall's president, walked out behind Cowher during a stand-up analysis segment to do the deed.
This was the scene:
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) January 12, 2020
Cowher was elected as part of the Hall's Centennial Slate in honor of the NFL's 100th season. A special panel met at the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, to choose 10 Seniors (players who last played more than 25 seasons ago), three Contributors (an individual other than a player or coach), and two Coaches (who last coached more than five seasons ago). Cowher obviously fell in the latter category. They were voted on from a list of 38 finalists, originally nearly 300.
"I just want to say I'm so blessed," Cowher would say on the set with barely a second to collect himself. "Football is a total team sport. I had some great players, 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 a family we had there. I'm very blessed to have been surrounded by some very special people."
Cowher became part of CBS' NFL programming in February 2007.
The rest of the 15-person Centennial Slate will be revealed live on NFL Network's 'Good Morning Football,' next Wednesday, beginning at 7 a.m.
The complete Class of 2020 will consist of 20 members, with the standard five being selected Feb. 2, the day before Super Bowl LIV. That'll be done by the Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee, and two more Steelers, Troy Polamalu and Alan Faneca, are finalists. Also, Donnie Shell is among the remaining finalists on the Centennial Slate.
Cowher, 62, took over for Chuck Noll as the Steelers' coach and held the position until 2006. In that time, his teams appeared in two Super Bowls, won nine division championships and went 161-99-1 for a winning percentage of .619. Noll, Cowher and Mike Tomlin are the franchise's only head coaches since 1969.
In early October, Cowher was inducted into the Steelers' Hall of Fame and introduced to the crowd at Heinz Field at halftime of the game against the Bengals, welcomed with a loud roar.
Cowher is the 327th overall member of the Pro Football Hall, the 182nd who's living.
The reactions came from all over:
Congratulations Coach Cowher on being inducted into the @ProFootballHOF!! My coach in Pittsburgh and now my forever coach in Canton!!
— Jerome Bettis (@JeromeBettis36) January 12, 2020
Coach!!!!!!!!!!!!!! @CowherCBS Love it, so deserved and earned! Can’t believe I caught that live on the plane.
— Alan Faneca (@afan66) January 12, 2020
Congrats Coach Cowher...
— . (@Ike_SwagginU) January 12, 2020
BILL COWHER GOING TO THE HALL OF FAME DAHN ‘ERE pic.twitter.com/349fVVGtEb
— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) January 12, 2020
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) January 12, 2020
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