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Blank should go get Cowher


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Blank should go get Cowher

By Mark Bradley | Tuesday, December 11, 2007, 09:13 PM

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Arthur Blank seemed in an awfully good mood for someone who d spent Monday night talking about his imprisoned quarterback and watching his team lose its 10th game. He was kidding the AJC s Steve Wyche about the writer s shirt-and-tie ensemble It s beginning to grow on me, Blank said and he d just seen the guy he d identified as his team s CEO hold an angered and aborted media briefing. And then the rich man walked with his wife and his security chief toward the Georgia Dome s exit, surely believing the worst had passed.

Eighteen hours later, the CEO cut and ran.

Eighteen hours later, the worst got worse.

The franchise quarterback is in prison. The coach/CEO is bound for Arkansas. Once again, the rich man has been caught unawares by the true nature of one of his employees. Once again, the long-suffering Falcons are left to wonder if anything will ever go their way again.

What makes coach Bobby Petrino s exit even more galling is that Blank had come to trust him. If the owner ever referred to Jim Mora as the CEO, I missed it. Indeed, Blank in conversation almost always paired Mora with Rich McKay, and speaking with writers before Monday s game Blank mentioned the GM only when asked about the details of Vick s contract. In Blank s eyes, Petrino had become the man with vision, the man with the plan. (I should confess that I also held Petrino in high esteem and am stunned that he took a hike.)

The CEO takes a salary cut to become a Hog. What does that tell us about the state of the Falcons?

It might be funny if it weren t so sad. Say what you will about Blank, but he has poured body and soul into this franchise, and today he looks like just another rich guy with more money than sense. I wouldn t blame him if he sold the team to the lowest bidder would the last man in Flowery Branch turn out the lights? but I believe he s in it for the long haul. Alas, the haul keeps getting longer.

For the second time in 11-1/2 months, the Falcons need a coach. At this late date, they should try anything and everything. They could round up the usual suspects, Steve Mariucci chief among them. Or they could try to lure Jimmy Johnson away from Fox. Or they could pursue Rick Neuheisel, the wild card in Georgia Tech s search. Or they could do what makes the most sense: They could hire Bill Cowher.

Question is, would Cowher, having worked for one of the best organizations in Pittsburgh, want anything to do with the franchise now seen as the absolute worst? That s where Blank would have to be brave. He d have to spend big, sure, but he d also have to be willing to let his coach become the focal point. He seemed to be moving toward that with Petrino, who didn t stick around long enough for anything to take hold.

The Falcons are no longer Vick s team and they never quite were Petrino s, and the Blank Method coddling and cajoling and empowering has stopped working. No, the owner didn t make Vick develop a thirst for dogfights or make Petrino turn tail, but it s the owner who must clean up after them. Blank spoke Monday of the need to move forward, and 18 hours later his coach moved out.

The next coach needs to be made of stronger stuff. The next coach needs to be tough enough to ride out the losses and bend the organization to his will. The next coach needs to come equipped with an ego and a persona as outsized as the owner s. Half-measures won t rescue a franchise that has become a full-blown mess.

Petrino was a bold choice that didn t work out. Having hit what surely must be bottom, there s no cause to get timid now. Go bigger. Get bolder. Get Bill Cowher.

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"Half-measures won t rescue a franchise that has become a full-blown mess."

Cowher is the best available choice.

If Blank want to win, he have to stop with experiment like college coach and hire a real NFL coach. Cowher should be the long-term solution that we need.

Draft Mcfadden and hire Cowher! :smooooth:

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I don't think Cowher would want to get into this mess. But maybe if Blank had the guts to fire McKay and offer Cowher the GM job in addition to being the head coach, maybe Cowher would see that as a good opportunity. If it's just a HC job, why would Cowher want it? If he wanted to get back into coaching, which he doesn't really seem to, he could go to any other team looking for a coach and it would be a better situation than what we have here in Atlanta.

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