To all those people who want to fire the coach
Look around the collective intelligence of Tampa sports show hosts and particular message board posters (total IQ, less than Jeff's passer rating), and you will see that they all want Jon Gruden fired at the end of this season. Poor offense, no run defense, no pass rush, high price of gas - it's all Jon's fault.
So assuming for one minute that this is what will happen to a coach posting his third winning season in the last four, how exactly do the Bucs improve themselves in the coaching department during the off-season?
Look at the other teams around the NFL who are about to be looking for new head coaches. Romeo Crennel (Cleveland), Rod Marinelli (Detroit), Herm Edwards (Kansas City), Vince Cable (Oakland) and Jim Haslett (St.Louis) are all expected to receive their pink slips within a couple of days of the end of the regular season.
Then there are another five coaches who are on seriously hot seats and could also be joining them in the form of Buffalo (Dick Jauron), Marvin Lewis (Cincinnati), Wade Phillips (Dallas), Jack Del Rio (Jacksonville) and Eric Mangini (NY Jets),
And not forgetting that both Tony Dungy (Indianapolis) and Mike Holmgren (Seattle) are retiring and handing over the reins to their designated replacements.
So we have six definite openings out there and probably another four to five. And these people want the Bucs to join the queue. Exactly how many jobs can Bill Cowher take?
Exactly where are all these new head coaches coming from? Outside of a couple of known co-ordinators (Steve Spagnulo with the Giants and Jason Garrett in Dallas), there is not a lot of head coaching material out there. And with the disasters that were Bobby Petrino and Al Groh, who is going to look to the college ranks for their next supremo?
The problem with these message board trolls is that they play the likes of Madden too often. End of a season and up comes a box - "Do you want to keep your head coach - click Yes/No". It's all too easy in this world to make a change for change's sake. It happens all the time in the English Premier League where two or three losses causes the media to descend on the unfortunate manager.
The Glazers are successful business people and you don't become that good making decisions on a whim. They have proven to be in the football business for the long-term and will only make a change when really necessary. The switch from Dungy to Gruden brought the Bucs a Super Bowl. Do you really think that making a change now will give Tampa Bay a second Vince Lombardi Trophy next season?
Paul Stewart, TBO.com, December 2008