December 9, 2012; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers former head coach Jon Gruden talks during a presentation celebrating the 10th anniversary of the 2002 Super Bowl Champions during halftime against the Philadelphia Eagles at Raymond James Stadium. The Eagles won 23-21. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
One of the popular reasons why fans of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers want to see Greg Schiano stay is because they believe the team will suffer by making yet another coaching change and losing “continuity.”
That’s bogus, and here’s why.
The Last Time the Buccaneers Won a Playoff Game, They Had a First-Year Head Coach
Tony Dungy is one of the most beloved coaches in Tampa Bay Buccaneers history. In fact, to most fans, he’s probably the most likable and most fondly remembered. But he seemed to be unable to get the team to the top of the NFL, tripping and falling in the postseason one too many times.
Enter Jon Gruden, who got to keep some of Dungy’s staff, but managed to install his own offense (with its ridiculous vocabulary) and spark a run to a Super Bowl title.
The Buccaneers are in a very similar situation now, where a head coach with the ability to run even an average NFL offense could help propel this team to a Super Bowl. The defense for the Buccaneers is incredibly good, and really isn’t even being coached all that well at the moment. Add in a decent offense that can score more than a field goal in the second half of games, and the Buccaneers are legitimate contenders.
Other First-Year NFL Coaches Have Proven That Things Can Change Quickly
Andy Reid, Bruce Arians, Chip Kelly, Marc Trestman, and even Mike McCoy have shown this season that it’s possible to greatly improve a team in your first season in charge, and put them right in the thick of the playoff hunt. For Reid and Arians specifically, they’ve been tasked with getting enough offense out of teams with previously good defenses. Both have done exactly that.
Thinking back to previous years, Chuck Pagano, Jim Harbaugh and Pete Carroll all made the playoffs during their first seasons in charge, with Gruden being a perfect example of a team winning a Super Bowl with a new coach on the sidelines.
And in the case of Pagano, he was able to lead the Colts to the playoffs (with the help of Bruce Arians) despite turning over nearly half of the roster! There was absolutely no continuity in Indianapolis for Pagano, yet now his team sits comfortably atop the division.
Keeping Greg Schiano for continuity reasons is better stated as being afraid of not hiring the right coach to replace him. Because the right coach can step in from day one and turn a team around. It’s happened countless times in recent season.
And if the current leadership of the Buccaneers can’t hire the right coach, the franchise has bigger problems than just Schiano. Which may be the unfortunate, troubling truth.