Who Now?


I didn’t plan to talk about pro football for three of my past four blog entries, but sometimes current events change the best laid plans.

Late last night, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers put out a press release to announce that Lovie Smith had been fired despite their record improving from 2-14 in 2014 to 6-10 this season. The search may or may not be on to find the 11th head coach of the franchise as we speak.

I say “may not” because the move to fire Lovie wouldn’t make sense otherwise. While there is something called a “Rooney Rule” where at least one minority applicant must be interviewed, I suspect the Bucs already have their man.

If I have to guess who’ll be the new head coach of the Bucs would be at this point, that’d be tricky, as they’ve recently tried all the roads that “lead to Rome.” They tried an established assistant in Raheem Morris, which didn’t work. They tried a big name college coach in Greg Schiano, which also didn’t work. Then they tried a big name former pro coach recently in Lovie, which Bucs management has now also declared a failure by letting him go.

My thinking is that Dirk Koetter will be the new head coach, as he was both an established assistant in college and a pro football, and a former head coach in college football at Boise State and Arizona State. But the timing of the firing of Lovie Smith suggests this may not be the answer. It very well could be a bigger name.


The Axe Finally Falls

The current coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Greg Schiano.  He still has a job, for now.
Greg Schiano the now EX Buccaneers coach.  Feels good to say that, I must admit.

It just broke (a few minutes ago as I type this) that Greg Schiano has been fired as the Tampa Bay Bucs coach.

I was all for it when the Bucs started 0-8, but then they started to win a few games, going 4-1 in one five game stretch.

Losses to San Francisco, St. Louis, and New Orleans to end the 2013 campaign did the coach in. Some of the play calling in the New Orleans game didn’t make a lot of sense.  A fake punt down 21-14 with less than 30 seconds to go in the half, for instance.  Or running the ball on  a 3rd and 1 on their own side of the field down 42-17.

It’s rumored Schiano is heading to Penn State, with Bill O’Brien rumored to be the new coach of the Houston Texans.

May his pro coaching career rest in pieces.

A great final blog entry for 2013.

Coming Wednesday: predictions for 2014.

Has Football Jumped The Shark?

It’s another afternoon and evening of NFL Football at my house. The Bucs have now won two in a row, can you believe that? Don’t sell your house yet, Coach Schiano, you might be here in Tampa Bay in 2014.

And yes, I’m officially off of the “Fire Schiano” bandwagon, almost as if the wagon itself had caught fire.

I’ve been watching the NFL most of my 42 years and change on this earth, with Super Bowl XII being the catalyst for my interest.  My dad’s Dallas Cowboys and Tom Landry winning the Lombardi Trophy over the upstart Denver Broncos.

I wonder if the NFL has jumped the shark in terms of its significance in the real world, probably has by now.

Years ago, no one would have ever seen a football game postponed for a couple of hours because there may be tornadoes in the area, for instance. They would have just played on. And I’m not saying it’s not the right thing to do, either.

I remember a Bucs-Redskins game in September of 1982, played in a thunderstorm in Tampa Stadium for most of the first half. My mom and dad, my cousins, aunt, and uncle where cruising around Clearwater Beach that day. You could hear the thunderstorm on the radio, but they just kept playing.

Now a days, it seems everything the NFL is sanitized for safety. It may prove to be a good thing down the road, but as an older fan, things seem only one way: different.

Boycotting The Buccaneers

The current coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Greg Schiano.  He still has a job, for now.
The current coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Greg Schiano. He still has a job, for now.

The NFL franchise here in the Tampa Bay area has seen better days. The Bucs are currently 0-7 under Greg Schiano, and have lost 12 of their last 13 games.

For some odd reason, the Glazer family that owns the Bucs has not fired Schiano yet, despite the open clamoring and imploring from fans to do so.

I’ve been a Bucs fan all of my 42 years plus of life, going back to when they went 0-26 to begin their franchise in the 1976 and 1977 seasons. Even when they were terrible in the 1980’s and 1990’s, there has never been this high of disapproval of the team and the coach.

I am going to do something Sunday I’ve never done on purpose when they take the field in Seattle. I’m not going to watch them until Greg Schiano is fired. I hope Bucs fans across the area join me in this.

I remember a protest by Oakland Raiders fans during a Monday night game back in 1980 against Denver. Looking it up on Google, the plan was called “Save Our Raiders” to protest the impending move of the Oakland franchise (they won the Super Bowl that season, and would do so again in Los Angeles three years later) to the City of Angels.

Maybe the fans need to do something like that to get the word out about how Mr. Schiano is kryptonite to the Bucs franchise. It would just be a matter of organization, I suppose.

Schiano Must Go

Only took a half of football into the 2013 Bucs season before I whipped out the booze.  Shot on September 8, 2013.
Only took a half of football into the 2013 Bucs season before I whipped out the booze. Shot on September 8, 2013.

I know it is early into the 2013-2014 NFL season as I type this, but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are already driving me crazy.

There is a growing soap opera here in Bucs land. The press is having a field day with ongoing tension between quarterback Josh Freeman and head coach Greg Schiano, formerly the head coach at Rutgers University.

While I realize Schiano doesn’t play on the team, I see a very undisciplined bunch out there. For the second week in a row, the Bucs committed over 100 yards in penalties and probably racked up several thousand bucks worth of fines.

Team discipline goes to the head coach.

Here’s exhibit B: late in the game yesterday with the New Orleans Saints, they lead 14-13 with a 1:10 left to go, with a 4th down and three yards to get for a first down 29 yards away from the Saints goal line. If the Bucs get those three yards, the first down lets them run the rest of the clock out since New Orleans had no time outs left.

They sent Rian Lindell to make a field goal, but the kick sailed left of the goal posts. Drew Brees and the Saints quickly go down the field, kick a field goal, win the game 16-14.

Easy to say this in retrospect, but I would have tried to get the first down in that instance. Even if the Bucs got the field goal and led 17-13, the Saints would still have gotten a final possession and a chance to win. Instead Schiano played it safe.

He played not to lose as opposed to playing to win.

All the turmoil goes to one person, and Mr. Schiano is that person. So hopefully, the Glazers are paying attention. Otherwise, they will wonder why Raymond James Stadium will be increasingly empty when the Bucs take the field. Show Schaino the door.

Sack The Scabs

As I type this, it is less than three hours before the first game of the NFL preseason for the team that I follow, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bucs showed some promise in 2010 and in early 2011, but a dismal finish forced head coach Raheem Morris out of a job, and Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano has been hired in his place for the 2012 campaign.

But I was just looking at these replacement officials the NFL were using for the preseason games that took place last night on Deadspin, as there’s currently a labor dispute between the league and the officiating crews.

I was expecting the officiating replacements to be less than stellar.

Let’s just say they underachieved even those expectations.

No one remembers who wins or loses the four or five preseason games an NFL team plays, but all these missed calls (like a phantom touchback in the Buffalo-Washington game when the ball never got closer than the four yard line, prompt Buffalo to use a challenge to get the call corrected) will be remembered by the fans for quite some time.

Let’s hope the real officials come back REAL soon.