If you didn't know, I'm a football fan. In specific, I'm a Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan, due to my years of living there, and the entire town being Bucs crazy. There are no football teams in LA, so no one is fighting for my loyalty. And, at this point, I doubt that any team could - in so much as you can have loyalty to a football team.
The Buccaneers are having a terrible season. They are 3-12. Admittedly, they did just beat NFC powerhouse New Orleans Saints the other day, in overtime. However impressive that may be, it is also incredibly inconsequential. This is a team looking towards draft day 2010, and beyond.
This season, they took on a new head coach, Raheem Morris. He took over for Jon Gruden, who was fired for the collapse of the team at the end of 2008. Morris had no head coaching experience, and was 32 years old when he got the gig - ridiculously young for a head coach. Morris, in the earliest days of his career, fired assistants who had more experience. It's a bold move, perhaps a brash move, maybe a terrible move if it doesn't lead to wins. It didn't lead to wins. It was a terrible move.
Yet, for all of this, the Glazers (who own the Buccaneers) decided to make him their coach. And now, that's in jeopardy because Bill Cowher is back on the market.
Bill Cowher, who coached the Pittsburgh Steelers for 15 seasons, leading them to eight division titles, six AFC Championship appearances, 2 AFC Championship wins and one Super Bowl Victory in 2006. Cowher is a legend. Cowher is living deity in Pittsburgh. He has the aura of a great coach, and has the pedigree to back it up. Cowher can coach anywhere he wants. He might want Tampa Bay. It is obvious that Tampa Bay wants him.
And that's where I have an issue. No one has to tell me business is business. That the focus of the organization is to win, to sell tickets, merchandise, etc., all the while being an asset to their community. And, with a 3-12 record, Raheem Morris has no real claim to being a coach who can get it done. However, it's been one season. A football team takes more than one season to go through changes in coaches (and quarterbacks, as Tampa Bay has - to rookie Josh Freeman.) Gruden took over after the long career of Tony Dungy. That very first season, Gruden won the SuperBowl, and the team slowly deteriorated from there. Dungy went to Indianapolis, and not only won a Super Bowl, but left the team in brilliant shape for current coach Jim Caldwell (the Colts are 14-1.) It's impossible to know, at this moment, how Morris will pan out as a coach. We certainly will never know if the Bucs don't give him the chance.
I think the Bucs owe him that chance. Coaches need to develop. Teams need to develop. All is fair in love and war, and I won't be surprised if Cowher is the coach next year, and Morris is coaching elsewhere - as a head coach, or as an assistant. But I can't help thinking it is, in the end, bad business. A bad practice of not sticking with something for the long haul (or the medium haul.) The Bucs are 3-12, but two of their three wins have come in the last two games, at the end of the season. Maybe things have started to come together? Maybe it wasn't such a terrible move after all?
Either way, Morris should have suitcases at the ready. This is the NFL. What's bad business to some, is good business to others.