The Pittsburgh Steelers were on defense in a comfortable 3rd and long.

But Troy Polamalu whiffs on a tackle, resulting in a fresh set of downs for the opposition.

Coach Cowher wasn’t happy.

The camera zoomed in on that famous snarl, but this time Cowher is pointing at Polamalu when he clearly yells, “YOU OWE ME.”

Image of Cowher yelling

“You owe me”?

As in, owes him personally?

I remember thinking, “Cowher, that’s bad coaching.”

By the fourth quarter that play was long forgotten by most people — but clearly not by Troy. In a last minute TD drive he reads the quarterback’s eyes and makes an acrobatic interception, sealing a Steelers victory.

Yet Cowher isn’t smiling. He’s pointing at Polamalu again, but this time nodding his head saying, “WE’RE EVEN.”

If football plays had price tags, this wasn’t equitable. Missing a tackle would cost $10-20. A game-winning interception? At least $100.

But in pro sports, just doing your job isn’t good enough. Especially when you’ve made a mistake and let the team down.

You have to go above and beyond to repay the debt and get back to even.

– – –

As a coach, I frequently deal with clients who may have stumbled or lost motivation.

Most of the time, I respond with a mix of reality and support — even just plain positivity.

Keep blowing your diet Thursday night? Well, no, that’s definitely not helpful, but let’s put this in perspective: it’s only one evening.

But also: what’s so special about Thursday? Is it end-of-the-week diet fatigue? A recurring social trigger? Or are you just bored? (Some combination thereof?)

Sometimes it’s a tougher conversation.

You’ve been dieting, tracking, and training a long time. You may just need a break. While physical “overreaching” is easy to identify, mental burnout is tougher to pin down, especially in Type-A folks, yet it’s just as destructive.

Or… lastly, maybe it’s that there isn’t some super in-depth analysis that’ll explain exactly what’s happening. Maybe it’s like the situation above, with “snarling” Bill Cowher.

The only difference here is that you don’t owe your coach or your team — you owe YOU.

Why are you blowing your diet? You want this SO BAD.

We have months of data and you’ve come so far. You KNOW what to do. And you know I’m here for you even if you just need re-assuring.

So why are you denying yourself your true potential?

You owe yourself this. And… hey, if it helps, then yeah: you owe ME.

Because I’m not giving up on you. So you better not either.

Next play.

Coach Bryan