Saturday, August 05, 2006

Steelers' Whisenhunt heir apparent to Cowher?

Great article on our former alum Ken Whisenhunt, who we would all love to coach the Jackets one day in the future:

There are plenty of ways to oversimplify Whisenhunt's impact on the Steelers' organization as constituted, but the one that shrieks for attention is the fact that with this 44-year-old Georgia Tech grad helping to design and calling Cowher's plays, the Steelers are 31-7, including 5-1 in the postseason. (In the five years before Whisenhunt ran the offense, Cowher was 44-35-1 and twice had losing seasons.) The glorious postseason freshest in the memory included a stunning and practically pristine offensive performance through which the Steelers averaged 27 points per game, in large part by converting a staggering 54 percent of their third-down situations, eight of 15 against a flummoxed flock of Seahawks.

You're clearly entitled to any selected postseason moment freeze-framed for the memory, but you'll have a hard time beating Fake Toss 39 X Reverse Pass, the play Whisenhunt spoke into his headset with 8:56 left in Super Bowl XL and the Steelers leading, 14-10. Four players handled the ball on what turned into the only touchdown pass thrown by a wideout (Antwaan Randle El) in the Steelers' Super Bowl history. And wasn't it just the prettiest thing, spiraling most of 43 yards and landing in the dead-sure hands of Hines Ward, who took it deep into the Super Bowl's extensive visual history?

"People don't remember the ones that don't work," Whisenhunt said modestly. "Those kinds of things sometimes work for us because Bill believes in them, and we all have trust in the players to execute them. Those kinds of plays are devised by a great staff, late at night, and a lot of the success we've had is because we've used them in the context of our basic stuff."

Steelers' Whisenhunt heir apparent to Cowher?