Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

15 Feb 2007

Cowher Joins CBS as Studio Analyst

Bill Cowher will make CBS a five-person pregame show next season as he'll join CBS' "The NFL Today". Any guesses as to how he'll perform?

Posted by: Bill Barnwell on 15 Feb 2007

48 comments, Last at 19 Feb 2007, 10:05am by Mikey Benny


by BillWallace (not verified) :: Thu, 02/15/2007 - 5:33pm

He'll fit in perfectly. A lot of cliches about toughness and running the ball and doing what it takes and no real analysis.

by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Thu, 02/15/2007 - 5:34pm

When you're being held up to the gold standard that is Dan Marino, Shannon Sharpe and Boomer Esiason, it isn't difficult to come off looking good.

by Baba Wawa (not verified) :: Thu, 02/15/2007 - 5:39pm

Yay, more people with speech impediments on TV.

by spatne (not verified) :: Thu, 02/15/2007 - 5:53pm

Pittsburgh's cup runneth over. Unfortunately, it runneth with IC Light. Not looking forward to the weekly Marino-Cowher yinz-off.

by Sundown (not verified) :: Thu, 02/15/2007 - 5:58pm

Well, I think Ditka is pretty much retired now, so there's an opening for the "tough-as-nails coach" role.

In all honesty, he'll probably be pretty good because I suspect he'll come across as likable, which is about 90% of the job. The studio football shows are a lot like the network morning news shows. Katie and Matt were never the world's greatest journalists, but that's not why people tune in.

by mb (not verified) :: Thu, 02/15/2007 - 6:20pm

I agree with Wanker79. How hard is it to look good next to Shannon freaking Sharpe? The only way Cowher could've made himself look better is by signing up to take Steve Young's job as the beleaguered voice of sanity to Michael Irvin's raving lunatic. It's too bad he's not going to call games as I think he'd probably be great at that in the John Madden/Dick Vermeil/Jaws mold as a knowledgeable football guy, especially because he hasn't had years of TV announcer platitudes being shoved down his throat. Constrained by the formatted nonsense of a pregame show, yeah, he'll probably just roll with all the cliches and cutesy banter. Oh, and spatne, what's your problem with the yinzers other than their bizarre accents?

by James, London (not verified) :: Thu, 02/15/2007 - 7:15pm

Can someone explain to an ignorant Brit what a "Yinzer" is?

by James G (not verified) :: Thu, 02/15/2007 - 7:22pm

7 - "yinz" is Pittsburgh slang for "you all." I have no idea where it came from, but everybody I know from the actual city of Pittsburgh (not necessarily the suburbs) says it.

by Dr. of Pittsburgh Descent (not verified) :: Thu, 02/15/2007 - 7:30pm

The etymology, off the top of my head, is "you ones" became "you'uns" became "yinz". Wikipedia more or less agrees with me (click my name for link).

by BillWallace (not verified) :: Thu, 02/15/2007 - 7:38pm

Yinz got Pabst an'at?

by Theo, Netherlands (not verified) :: Thu, 02/15/2007 - 7:48pm

Looking at the context in which 'yinz' is used, 'you all' doesn't make any sense to me.

by Jerry (not verified) :: Thu, 02/15/2007 - 7:50pm

Who'd drink Pabst when they could pound an Ahrn?

by Spoilt Victorian Child (not verified) :: Thu, 02/15/2007 - 8:23pm

Theo: a "yinzer" is a person from Pittsburgh. The previous posts have just been explaining the etymology.

by cd6 (not verified) :: Thu, 02/15/2007 - 9:16pm

Go Stillers!

by Waverly (not verified) :: Thu, 02/15/2007 - 9:37pm

I think it will be good to have a coach's perspective on that panel. Quarterbacks are overrepresented, and defense is underrepresented. In this regard, FOX's panel is better balanced.

Then again, it's really the quality of the commenter that matters most.

by calig23 (not verified) :: Thu, 02/15/2007 - 9:57pm


Actually, I would define "Yinzer" as someone from Pittsburgh, exactly. I would define it as someone from Pittsburgh who "embraces" the stereotypical Pittsburgh mentality and mannerisms. That is to say, all Yinzers are Pittsburghers or, perhaps ex-Pittsburghers (though true Yinzers would never leave Pitsburgh), but not all Pittsburghers are Yinzers. Most, but not all.

Frankly, Yinzers sicken me.

by calig23 (not verified) :: Thu, 02/15/2007 - 9:58pm


"would" should be "wouldn't"

by spatne (not verified) :: Thu, 02/15/2007 - 10:41pm


My problem with yinzers is that I had to spend 18 years sharing a city with them (I'm from the same area as Cowher, incidentally) and now I'm allergic. They represent the height of provincialism and I just can't stand it.

There are specifics, of course, but calig23 has summed it up nicely.

by the fumble (not verified) :: Fri, 02/16/2007 - 12:25am

#16 - A bit harsh, aren't we?

by Fnor (not verified) :: Fri, 02/16/2007 - 12:35am

I think you will find that any group is insufferable if you look hard enough.

I imagine most of them would give ahlyuns a break.

by Mikey (not verified) :: Fri, 02/16/2007 - 1:01am

FWIW, I thought Cowher was very good on the Super Bowl pre-game when he was allowed to talk about how he would attack the Colts if he were in Lovie's shoes. He is willing and able to talk Xs and Os football and hopefully CBS will let him do it.

On the other hand, when he had to sync his comments to a taped piece he was atrocious.

Also, I grew up neck-deep in yinzers. The longer I've been away from them, the more I like them.

by Mikey (not verified) :: Fri, 02/16/2007 - 1:04am

I just wish the term "yinzer" had existed when I was in high school. At the time I knew I encountered an awful lot of provincial, closed-mided, but generally likable, well-meaning people. I just didn't know they had a name!

by Israel (not verified) :: Fri, 02/16/2007 - 1:24am

Growing up in Squirrel Hill, "yinz (which is indeed the plural form of "you," a construction sadly lacking in Standard English) was something we only heard from our rural cousins.

Did anyone ever hear Cope say "yinz?"

And it's not like "you all" - it's like "y'awl."

Another option from my youth is "youse," which I actually heard in the neighborhood.

by Israel (not verified) :: Fri, 02/16/2007 - 1:30am

To clarify, "youse" is a bit more of an adjective, as in "Youse guys better get over here."

"Yinz" is a noun.

by BillWallace (not verified) :: Fri, 02/16/2007 - 2:51am

What? Who doesn't like Yinzers? Yinzers are harmless, like Canadians.

Israel, I went to CMU and I heard Yinz fairly often.

by Mark (not verified) :: Fri, 02/16/2007 - 9:02am

Record for fastest thread deterioration?

by James, London (not verified) :: Fri, 02/16/2007 - 9:16am

Thanks for the answers, although I'm a little sorry I asked!

by Ray (not verified) :: Fri, 02/16/2007 - 12:36pm

This is YOUR fault, James. I hope you're happy.

Incidentally, my inlaws are from the Altoona-Johnstown area, a bit E-NE of Pittsburgh, and while they're not 'Yinzers', the term does get dropped on occasion (especially by my father-in-law). It's great way to indentify someone from SW PA within about 5 minutes of meeting them. If you hear them say 'Yinz', you know exactly where they're from.

by DGL (not verified) :: Fri, 02/16/2007 - 12:38pm

#25: Funny, I don't recall hearing a lot of yinzers when I was at CMU (E87) - at the risk of degenerating this thread even further into a class discussion, it always seemed to me that the stereotypical yinzer pronunciations and usages were more of a working-class trait - like the stereotypical Noo Yawk and Philly accents - and you didn't get an awful lot of working-class kids at CMU.

Now down the road at Pitt... er, never mind.

by PhillyCWC (not verified) :: Fri, 02/16/2007 - 12:41pm

Spent 4 years at beautiful Duquesne University overlooking the scenic Monongahela (sp?) River. Many, many "yinzers" there - I'm just sorry I didn't know that was what they were called!

Seriously, Pittsburgh is a great city and I enjoyed my time there very much. The people who live there are very nice and pleasant, almost a mid-western feel. Definitely nicer than what passes for courtesy here at the eastern side of Pennsylvania ("Yo! Did you just cut me off, you SOB?"). And the last time I checked, Stillers fans generally don't throw batteries during home games.

by Mark (not verified) :: Fri, 02/16/2007 - 12:42pm

I never trusted the wooder they used to make IC.

(Eagles fan)

by DGL (not verified) :: Fri, 02/16/2007 - 12:44pm

#28: Actually, there are other, more subtle Pittsburgh shibboleths. The dropped infinitive, for one ("The care needs washed") - it took me about two years after I moved away before I even realized there was anything unusual about it... There are also a few pronunciation cues (though I can't put my finger on them right now - I'll have to try to remember).

by NoraDaddy (not verified) :: Fri, 02/16/2007 - 12:56pm

#32: The dropped infinitive isn't exclusive to Pittsburgh. I grew up in Pa. Dutch country closer to the Eastern side of the state and it's pretty common. My favorite line was always "Throw the caw over the fence some hay."

by jfolg (not verified) :: Fri, 02/16/2007 - 1:16pm

the power of the yinz is quite strong. i'm from steubenville, ohio (not actually far away) and we use it there too.
i agree with the "working-class" qualifier.
and to refine the line in #32: "The care needs warshed."

by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Fri, 02/16/2007 - 2:12pm

Re #26
I dunno, check the "Dr. Z thread" that turned into the CMG thread. Z is great and all, but it was about as hard to talk about what Z wrote in that as it was to talk AFC South in the ROBO-PUNTER thread.

by mb (not verified) :: Fri, 02/16/2007 - 4:17pm

I dated a through and through yinzer girl from SW PA and lived with her in Pittsburgh for about 6 months so I have a unique perspective on yinzers. I wasn't there long enough for it to become irritating but I did pick up on yinzerism. This I what I remember, mostly based on my ex-girlfriend and friends.

yinzer cues:
-water=wooter (also true for some people from Baltimore
-it's always "pop" not soda
elimination of 'to be', e.g. "my hair needs cut" not "my hair needs TO BE cut"
-rubber bands=gum bands
-beanie (winter hat)=toboggan
-love of pirogies and Iron City beer
-irrational love for the Steelers

by PhillyCWC (not verified) :: Fri, 02/16/2007 - 4:56pm

Re 36:
short "ow" pronounced as "ah" as in "downtown" = "dahntahn"; "South Side" = "Sahth Side"

And hey, I'm from Harrisburg originally, so between the PA Dutch thing and the western PA thing during my formative years, it's a wonder people understand me at all when I talk! When I first moved to SE PA many years ago, people frequently said to me, "You're not from around here, are you?" I don't get that so much any more, which could be a good or bad thing depending on your viewpoint.

by thepeepshow (not verified) :: Fri, 02/16/2007 - 5:03pm

UPDATE: CBS announced Friday it will be using for NFL Games and the Pre Game Show new cameras equiped with wiper blades.

by Bobman (not verified) :: Fri, 02/16/2007 - 5:19pm

This has been a great thread. Football be damned (after all, it's off-season). The blue collar angle is funny; when I lived in NYC I could tell borough and neighborhood accents apart decently, usually regardless of socioeconomic status. Some folks never lose it. Now some never have it to begin with. Even now in Seattle, I'll get a call from a client in NY(typically MBA bankers) and the often enough, accent is dripping.

As my wife (west coast born and bred) says about my family, "Do they actually hear how they sound?" Probably not--surely not the same way she hears them. Or they don't care. Gotta get out and meet me some yinzers now.

by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Fri, 02/16/2007 - 5:43pm

As long as we're talking about annoying regional colloquialisms, I just thought I'd get this off my chest. If I hear my brother-in-law say "not-fer-nuttin'" one more time I might lose it. I sware, one time I heard him say it 3 times in a single sentence.

by Bobman (not verified) :: Fri, 02/16/2007 - 5:49pm

Wanker79, where's he from? I grew up in northeastern NJ and first heard it when my brother married a girl from a few miles south of us (so I assumed it was an east Orange/West orange thing). Then later in grad school, a buddy who worked on Wall Street said he heard it all the time and assumed it was a NY thing (but I never heard it in 10 years in NYC).

Not fer nothing, but I was just wondering ; -)

BYW, out here in Seattle, among other things, they say measure like "may zhure." My wife does not say it that way, but she also does not hear it when some locals do say it. Like she's immune. Weird. Otherwise, Seattle is pretty inoffensive for local colloquialisms. I first heard the pronunciation IN-surance instead of in-SUR-ance here, but have since heard it elsewhere. Might just be a more rural thing as opposed to specific region.

by Mikey (not verified) :: Fri, 02/16/2007 - 5:56pm

This thread has turned into nothing but a bunch of jagoffs.

If you dare, venture onto the message boards at stillers.com for a real taste of yinzer fandom. It's the only board where you're likely to be called obscene names you've never even heard of if you don't have a strong, well thought-out opinion on who should be the Steelers sixth linebacker next year.

by Bobman (not verified) :: Fri, 02/16/2007 - 6:27pm

Mikey, As a Colts fan, I will gladly recommend Gilbert Gardiner for the 6 slot in Pittsburgh's LB corps. He has good credentials: While starting in 2006 his unit ranked in the top 31 vs the run. I'll even pay for his bus ride from Indy to Pitt.

(Now next time I go to a Pirate game I'll be wrapped in terrible towels and thrown into the rivers. And I'd deserve it.)

by Paul (not verified) :: Sat, 02/17/2007 - 12:21am

28. I am from Altoona myself and we share some but not all of Pittsburgh's colloquialisms. For example, among the above, warshed and crick. Also, when your mother tells you to go red up your room, it is not painting but cleaning that needs done (to be or not to be--we chose not). The problem has always been--we used youns, not yinz. See wikipedia on yinz for discussion. Back to football, the love of Steelers as well as the language travels with you wherever you go. I still need to think about my words to avoid using them in mixed company (PA vs non-PA) How many other states are more commonly referred to by their postal abbreviation than by the actual name?

by BillWallace (not verified) :: Sat, 02/17/2007 - 12:26am

Yeah you're right about the class thing, I just happened to hang out with a bunch of middle class locals, definitely a minority at CMU ('99).

I sort of forgot about 'the car needs washed'... I never got used to that one.

The other thing no one mentioned about that culture is that at least as late as 95-99 it was still 1986 there. The girls have the huge hair, and Bon Jovi never went out. And country is #1, It's sort of like an urban version of West Virginia.

by Waverly (not verified) :: Sat, 02/17/2007 - 11:42am

Wow -- I didn't realize there were so many CMU and/or Pittsburgh folks here.

I didn't hear the term "yinz" too much, but I certainly heard the rest of the ones mentioned here. But maybe that's because I was in Pittsburgh during the 70's to early 80's, when the Steelers were king and the Pirates were pretty good too.

I miss all the ethnic festivals, Pittsburgh left turns, and steel mills with their grimy neighborhoods. But I don't miss the smell that came with them.

by Jerry (not verified) :: Sat, 02/17/2007 - 6:28pm

Re #46:

The mills, their grime, their smell, and their jobs are (almost) all history. Where the Homestead Works once made steel is now The Waterfront, a shopping complex with lots of big boxes.

by Mikey Benny (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 10:05am

Re: Yinzers: I grew up 40 miles from Pittsburgh, and we all said "yunz" as kids... it's not just Pittsburgh, it's much of Western PA (mostly Pittsburgh though). I'm glad I moved to Florida before it became a habit. Cowher's a smart coach -- his voice doesn''t reflect it, but he knows what he's talking about. I think he'll be a nice addition; certainly better than many of the yay-hoos in the booth right now.