The Time I Witnessed "The Chin" Up Close
If you don’t know what “The Chin” is, you might be too young for this blog. The most iconic look of any Pittsburgh sports figure just behind Art Rooney and his fat ass stogy, Bill Cowher’s chin, was a staple on the North Shore of Pittsburgh from the 90’s to the mid-2000s.
It always came out when he was pissed at a player, a coach or a referee. It was a look that was feared around the NFL. It is also feared by local Pittsburgh stooges who don’t know how to take a selfie. Allow me to explain.
For my 21st birthday, my aunt decided to take me to Vegas to celebrate being able to ruin my life with alcohol, gambling, and prostitutes. We were set to depart for the Pittsburgh airport just 5 days before the Divisional round of the 2018 NFL playoffs.
We arrived at the airport and sat down at one of the little bars that’s overly Pittsburgh themed, like any Yinzer would do. And who came in right behind us? The pride of Crafton, Pennsylvania himself, Bill Cowher. My aunt and I were in shock, trying to figure out if it was actually him. Eventually, a couple at the end of the bar pointed out that it was indeed “Coach.”
We were freaking out. My aunt took some creeper pics, as one does when they see a local hero:
Obviously we wanted to get a picture with the man, but how? My anxiety was through the roof just trying to figure out the best way to ask. My aunt—calm, cool and collected—said, “Just ask him. What’s the worst he can say? No?”
Yes, that’s exactly what I wanted. One of the greatest coaches in Pittsburgh history to say "No, you’re not good enough to take a picture with me." That would've been a great confidence boost right before I boarded a plane to Las Vegas.
Our plane was set to board in 10 minutes, so I just went for it. I asked him for the picture and, miraculously, he said yes. That doesn’t mean I wasn't still shaking from the anxiety, though. I went to take the picture, and I had just recently discovered that you could take pictures on iPhones by pressing the side volume button. (I don’t recommend doing this when your whole body is vibrating uncontrollably, by the way.)
The photo ended up being blurry. My aunt didn’t care because she'd just gotten to take a pic with a legend, and asked him when he’s coming back to coach the ‘Lers. My dumb ass, on the other hand...
“Ah, it’s blurry. Do you mind if we take another?”
I could tell right then and there Coach Cowher’s patience had been shot. He turned to look at me with his jaw jutted out and that grimace on his face, and he mumbled under his breath,
“Come on, make it a good one.”
And a good one, it was not...
I'd learned my lesson the first time, so I kept my mouth shut and thanked the man for his time. The only words my aunt spoke to me until we landed in Vegas were,
“I can’t believe you asked him to take a damn selfie twice. Next time, I’ll take it, for Christ’s sake.”