By this point the topic of Raheem Morris being slighted by Bill Belichick may have been exhausted Bucs fans, but maybe not. Regardless, we gave you a glimpse at our opinion yesterday when we announced the news. Obviously we’re not fans here at Pewter Plank. Bill Belichick did a good job, but the Patriots failed to exceed expectations. They were consider Superbowl contenders, front-runners by some, and lost their first playoff game at home to the Jets. Effectively Raheem Morris and Bill Belichick botch accomplished the same in the post-season, nothing.
Toss in the fact Raheem Morris had the youngest team in football and ended the season with 13 players on IR and one suspended for a year. That’s a lot of adversity for a young, inexperienced team in a tough division. No one gave the Bucs much of a chance at all, and out of the doubt he rallied his team around crazy assertions that he had the best squad in the NFC, before they had even taken their first regular season snap he had guaranteed to win ten games. And he did it. There must have been some method to his madness, his comments, his media personality and sideline mannerism, he took a team that was expected to be an embarrassment 10-6.
But that’s not what I wanted to comment on though, earlier today I read a post by St. Pete Times writer Stephen Holder pointing out the fact that Morris had pretty much every other vote outside of Belichick’s. A valid point and worth noting that about a third of the NFL writers have noticed the job he did and believed he deserved the distinction. But what bothered me was this tidbit:
"…votes from the 50-member panel of NFL writers and broadcasters (no one on the Times staff is a member of the panel). If that’s an indication of how Morris compares, he should feel very good about the results."
Are you kidding me? I know that there are no Tribune writers on the panel either, that means no Tampa-based newspaper has representation at all on the panel. There aren’t a whole lot of networks or broadcasters based out of Tampa. I searched and had no luck finding the list of journalists that actually do form the 50-member panel that votes on the award, but I would like to know what the demographics are and how concentrated the collection of writers from the Northeast is on the panel.
I just find it highly interesting that the Buccaneers fan-base is mostly localized to one area and that area has no representation at all, but I’d be willing to wager at least 20 percent of the people on the AP panel have ties to Boston and about 20-25 of the 50 probably hail from the Northeast.
I wouldn’t worry too much if I were Raheem, I’ll bet most of the AP voters don’t even get Bucs games and weren’t going to take much time or waste much attention on a team they labeled as frauds through most of the season. If the Bucs want respect next season they need to learn a lesson from this, they have to take it. Force people to notice. It’ll happen sooner than you think.