A recent report from CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora provides some insight into the Glazer Family’s timeline and thought process for their recent coaching search which ended with the hiring of fan-favorite Lovie Smith.
According to La Canfora, the Buccaneers reached out to Jon Gruden and Bill Cowher, and may have reached out to Cowher as early as November, and that the owners of the Buccaneers still plan to pursue Tony Dungy for a high-ranking position within the front office.
So what can we learn from this report, assuming it’s true?
First of all, the Glazers essentially made up their minds to fire Greg Schiano earlier in the season. So, as is usually the case, this report conflicts with reports that came out before Week 17 of the NFL season saying that Greg Schiano’s job was safe. If the owners were reaching out to Bill Cowher during November, the train had already begun to roll on toward Greg Schiano’s fate as a fired head coach.
Secondly, the Glazers were willing to break the bank to hire the right head coach. Lovie Smith will probably command the biggest contract of any head coach hired this winter, and the only coaches who would have required a bigger paycheck are Cowher and Gruden. Both NFL analysts have very comfortable TV jobs, and would need a lot of incentive to uproot their families and resume their past lives as an NFL coach.
Finally, this report, if true, proves that the Glazers are trying to win back the fanbase in Tampa Bay. Buying up tickets to make sure games aren’t blacked out, pursuing experienced, big-name, expensive coaches, and reaching out to the most beloved coach in team history (Tony Dungy) for a front office position are signs that the ownership didn’t like the way they or the team were perceived during the end of Jon Gruden’s tenure in Tampa Bay, and throughout the following years under Raheem Morris and Greg Schiano.
The Glazers take a lot of pride in their football team, and it seems like they’re finally returning to the aggressive mindset that landed them a Super Bowl trophy in 2002. If the Glazers continue to be this aggressive as owners, maybe they’re not the problem with the Buccaneers’ franchise, as I opined before Greg Schiano was fired.