So where does the next coach come from?
So where are the Buccaneers going to get their 2014 coach from? Anyone suggesting the present occupant remains in his office for another season is hereby banned from reading the rest of this article.
There are 32 NFL head coaching jobs of course available and on current form, at least six will become vacant after the so-called Black Monday when failure to produce results or simply being the current coach of the Oakland Raiders means you are removed from office.
And of course every fan of every team about to make such a switch will immediately assume Bill Cowher is taking over in 2014.
Cowher is one of the group of former coaches sitting in self-induced exile from the NFL sidelines. And it is now nearly seven years since he quit in Pittsburgh and has not shown any inclination to return any time soon. So unless a major change of heart comes over the CBS half-time show desk, he can be excluded from any discussions.
Brian Billick is one of the best analysts in the game these days and proved to be entertaining on and off the field in John Feinstein's superb book "Next Man Up". He has won a Super Bowl but again has been out of coaching for some considerable time now (December 2007) so it may be a reach to want him at One Buc Place next year.
Jon Gruden has recently admitted he hankers a return to coaching (anyone sharing a booth with Mike Tirico would endorse that sentiment) and he needs to find a job by 2016 so I can win my bet with The Tampa Tribune's Roy Cummings about his return. But after the way things ended between Gruden and the Glazers in January 2009, it will not be in Tampa and I fully expect him to be the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys in 2014.
Tony Dungy has definitely retired, Vince Lombardi is dead and Marty Schottenheimer is not just way too old but most Buccaneer fans would never be able to spell his name correctly on a regular basis.
You can forget the idea of the Bucs going to the college ranks for a new coach (done that with Greg Schiano) or promoting a young assistant from within (Raheem Morris). And I cannot see them going for promoting a co-ordinator from elsewhere in the NFL into their first head coaching staff even if two of the possible choices (Mike Shula and Jay Gruden) both have serious Tampa Bay connections.
The 2014 Bucs could well be the 2013 Chiefs, a team with a ton of talent that had been coached down into a terrible record by the man in charge. For Romeo, read Greg. And with all the talent on the Buccaneer roster, every pundit worth his salt would predict a turnaround of epic proportions with a new experienced man on the sidelines.
Lovie Smith is a popular suggestion based on his time with the Buccaneers on Tony Dungy's coaching staff, recent NFL experience (he only left Chicago last season) and relative success on and off the field. There is a solid front office in place at One Buc meaning there would be no kind of serious power struggle along the lines of the Gruden v McKay death match from 2003.
But I would like to throw one more possible name into the hat - Mike Tomlin. The Steelers are about to enter a re-building phase, some Pittsburgh media are wanting him out of the Three Rivers city and he has Buccaneer connections. So perhaps a few more losses for the Black and Gold and he could well be hitting the unemployment line on Black Monday, just long enough for him to return to the team where he won a Super Bowl ring as Defensive Backs coach in January 2003.