Cowher: “This is a Team You Will Always be a Part of for the Rest of Your Life.”

CANTON (News Talk 1480 WHBC) – Tuesday afternoon was not the first time former Steelers head coach and soon to be member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Bill Cowher has stepped foot in Canton.

It was however, the first time he took a few moments to admire what the Hall of Fame truly was.

“We played here, I think in 1998,” Cowher said when a young reporter who grew up watching his Steelers compete every Sunday asked him about his first trip to the Hall of Fame city. “I think we made (visiting the Hall of Fame) available for some of the players but I don’t even think I came over.”

Cowher coached in the game later that week that he probably would like to forget, a 30-6 loss against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at old Fawcett Stadium.

Over the next 12 years “the chin” would have many opportunities to pay a visit to where the legacies of the game’s all time greats are reserved.

He has homes in both the Cleveland and Pittsburgh areas, which would be no longer than a two hour drive from either spot. He also had a handful of former players get enshrined since retiring from football in 2007.

However, Cowher did not get to see the shiny bronze busts in Canton until a month after he found out that he’d soon have his own.

“This is really the first time I have walked in there and seen them,” said Cowher. “The history, what they do here, preserving the game, the legacy of all the people that are now in, you’re forever a number.”

Cowher’s number is 330, which is of course the area code here in Canton.

So, the man who was born and raised in Pittsburgh, the man who went on to lead the Steelers to a Super Bowl XL championship over his 15 year career, the man who might be considered one of the best “Yinzers” of all time, is now, ironically enough, as Canton as it gets.

He is number 330 in the 330. Cowher might not have taken time to look around when he made his first visit, but now he is here to stay.

“This is a team you will always be a part of for the rest of your life,” said Cowher with a smile on his face. “It’s just a really cool place that has preserved the game, that has been such of people in the United States. Its America’s game.”

On August 8 of this year, Cowher will be enshrined. He will no longer be a visitor.

Instead he, along with the 329 before him and the many to follow after, will be residents in the building that holds the story of what he and countless others call “America’s game.”