“Football guys” started as a phrase of endearment, but it is turning into something that has a negative connotation as seen with teams like the Buccaneers.
The Buccaneers are dying before our eyes because the coaching staff, a group of people that have their ways set in an era of the game that doesn’t exist anymore, are unable to adapt to the modern game of football.
The Bucs have “football guys” in charge of their team. This isn’t a good thing.
“Football guy” hasn’t always been a bad way of describing someone. Many might still use it as a way of showing love to a coach that displays hard-nosed tendencies, coaches a physical team, and displays the characteristics that many people grew up seeing in a coach.
Most people that have played the game of football at the high school level remember these guys. They yelled, they screamed, they cussed, most dipped on the field. They loved the Wing-T and fullbacks. “Defense wins championships.” We can all visualize this person.
This type of coach might’ve worked in an era where football was hard-nosed, but that era is dead, and those coaches are dying off.
You can complain and moan all you want that the game isn’t like what it used to be, but it isn’t. The game has changed.
There is a reason why analytics exist, and it isn’t to sell tickets to more Billy Beane documentaries. Numbers matter. Coaches that can’t figure this out are going the way of the dinosaurs.
Look no further than the differences between Dan Campbell and Mike McDaniel. Based on looks alone, every person that subscribes to the Neanderthalic worldview of football would pick Campbell as better-suited to coach the sport, but he is about to lose his job while McDaniel is on pace to make a deep postseason run during his first season. The situations are different, but this is a growing theme.
Kevin Stefanski, Kyle Shanahan, McDaniel, Sean McVay, and Shane Steichen to name a few are a part of a new era of coaches in the NFL. They don’t look like Campbell or Mike Vrabel. Some would call them nerdy or pretty boys (even though they have vary levels of experience playing the sport). As we are seeing, nerdy works.
These coaches are extremely vocal about using numbers in their evaluation of game strategies. We are seeing (over time in the case of McVay, who is having a down year) that these offenses are extremely hard to stop for this very reason. Stefanski is dominating offensively with a backup quarterback. Think that is because he is yelling at his players or running his locker room like it is the 1980s?
These guys get basic modern football concepts that coaches like Byron Leftwich and Todd Bowles either refuse to learn or think they are above.
The Bucs love running on first down and claim that it helps set up play-action. Teams don’t need to do this to set up play-action any longer. This has been disproven time and time again.
Even these other teams that run more than the Bucs know how to keep the offense fresh without becoming predictable in the way they call the game; something that analytics and numbers help with greatly.
Bowles and Leftwich are using outdated strategies on a weekly basis to help drive the Buccaneers into the ground. Fans even celebrated the Week 1 win over the Cowboys with the emphasis on the rushing attack because the game felt like it did when they were kids. Those days are over. Looking back, that was a dark omen. Teams have to be able to pass the ball effectively above all else because the pass actually sets up the run.
There might still be a place for football guys in some area of the sport, but we are quickly seeing that most teams would rather have a nerd that gets the game more than a guy who played and won’t embrace new ideas.
The Buccaneers don’t need football guys; they need coaches that are willing to change and adapt to the modern era of football. Hopefully their next coach is a nerd and not a football guy.
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