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2012 Buccaneers Head Coach Search: A Sad Day in Tampa Bay

“His heart is with college football and Oregon and he’s no longer being considered.” Those were the words of GM Mark Dominik to Tampa Bay Times reporter Rick Stroud. Oregon coach Chip Kelly left the Buccaneers standing at the altar today after everything was in place and all that was left was to announce him as the new head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Kelly has often said how he dreams of coaching at the pro level. He should have been clearer and told everyone his dreams excluded the Bucs.

With yet another snub, the curtain has been pulled back on the Buccaneers organization and what coaches think of them. Jeff Fisher didn’t even want to interview. Joe Philbin accepted an interview despite knowing he was most likely going to get the Miami job. Obviously, we were not Philbin’s first choice. Instead of taking a position with the Buccaneers which would have elevated him to head coach from quarterbacks coach, Tom Clements decided to take the Packers offer of offensive coordinator. It has been rumored Mike Zimmer isn’t keen on the front office and most likely wouldn’t accept the job in Tampa. The current process in searching for a head coach in Tampa has turned for the worse, making the Buccaneers a laughing stock of the NFL.

This is exactly the scenario and reason I thought it unwise to fire Raheem Morris. We all knew there were only a few candidates which had the pedigree to really make a change in Tampa Bay. Half of those candidates were ruled out because of the schemes they run or due to already spending time here. Bill Cowher and Brian Billick were never a fit. We all know how Jon Gruden was done by the Buccaneers organization so his name was never a choice though he was looking at opportunities. His brother Jay Gruden, another hot candidate was obviously filled in on the Glazer way of doing business so he too was never an option. Seeing how Jay and Mike Zimmer coach together, it’s not hard to imagine Jay relaying to Mike Zimmer the perils of taking a job with the Bucs. The search was really over before it ever started. The only way the Glazer family could have backed their words of “change” up would have been to convince these candidates they are serious about moving in the right direction. Obviously, they have not done a good enough job and it seems to all be lip service. So they turned to the college ranks, only to be rejected in trying to recreate the success of Jim Harbaugh. The problem with that is Harbaugh ran a pro system in college and had the top college quarterback in Andrew Luck running it. Chip Kelly’s spread attack probably would not have translated well to the NFL. Maybe that was part of his mind set in backing out, maybe not. Regardless, he has shown us just how dire the Buccaneers current situation is. Raheem Morris is in Washington, vindicated. There is a reason both he and Greg Olson were hired quickly. Other organizations knew what they were up against and knew their record is not a reflection of their talents as coaches. While the Buccaneers needed change, this isn’t the change they were hoping for.

So just like that, the Buccaneers are back to square one in their search for a head coach. Mike Sherman, Marty Schottenheimer and Brad Childress seem to be the only ones willing to take a job with the Buccaneers. Each has had a few weeks to mull the possibility over and each has now seen that they are not the Buccaneers first choice. It will be interesting to see their responses to being ignored and left on the sidelines, only to be asked to dance now that every partner is gone.

The worst part of this process is the effect it is having on the players. In Mark Dominik’s defense, he has drafted well and set a foundation of talented youth on both sides of the ball. The problem is they are the ones bearing the brunt of the current mockery which is the Buccaneers organization. It’s not too hard to draw comparisons to the Indians in the movie Major League. Poor ownership always stacking the odds against them, leaving the team to find a way to succeed despite the obstacles. Instead of realizing the potential this team has, the Glazer family are more content counting their treasures than seeking success. Look at the current fall of Manchester United. This is not all consequence, there is only one connection between the two and that is the Glazer ownership. The Buccaneers need a change at ownership more than they need a change at the coaching position.