As a lifelong Buc fan I sit and I stew, and I grow pissed…at what? The Buc’s recent turn for the worse?...the players?...coaches?...ownership?...the little to no action in the F/A market? NO!
I’ve grown completely disgusted with those in the media that try to micro analyze every supposed factoid/half truth/rumor about the Glazers finances, every move/non-move by the team in F/A, every reference to the coach and GM’s intellect/or lack thereof? Well truth be told - all that p/o’s me, but what bothers me the most?
That every “Buc fan” board is filled with the blind leading the blind – the same bandwagon supposed “fans” repeating the same crap over and over and over about the current regime/state of the franchise/etc… These were the same illiterate fools that cried for Dungy’s head. The same blind imbiciles that ran Gruden out of town…and they will be the same lame trash that will be hailing the Bucs as “their” team when we once again contend on a regular basis. Whatever happened to “supporting” your team? It’s a good thing they don’t orphan their kids when they fail to be the brightest in the class...though there would certainly be less of a need for all these Soccer mom vehicles on the road if that were the case!
Fact is with a rare few exceptions (NE, PHI, IND) modern Pro Football is a cyclical sport. With good coaching/drafting/FA acquisitions – teams will rise from the ashes (with few exeptions; aka: DET), …contend…either capture the championship,… or gradually sink back to the pack and some further.
The Buc’s started rebuilding in 96’ THRU THE DRAFT and the team reached its zenith with the 2002 SB Championship with a core group of players. Every season had a couple F/A signings to bolster specific areas…not unlike the recent past. The problem with continuity is that gradually your “core group” ages and regardless of how much we love them( ie: M.Alstott, D.Brooks, etc)…their play degrades. So a franchise is left with a “damned if we do….damned if we don’t” decision of keeping them, playing young inexperienced players, or plugging holes with typically overpriced or problem FA’s. Teams that are in this stage (ie: 2008 Buccaneers) have not/will not ever do more than battle for a play-off spot – with no real hope of more than a one and done run.
So knowing full well for the last five seasons they were furiously treading water (ie: Garcia…etc) to stay afloat, they happened to notice sometime in early January 09’ after their (4) game collapse, below the surface of the water they were treading – they no longer had legs! Change was needed…not wanted.
The Bucs had a great, competitive 10-12 year run (especially on the defensive side)...but the team had grown old. The organization made a conscious decision to rebuild following the pattern set in the mid to late 90’s of building thru the draft and getting younger. (BTW….noticing this seems to be a trend this year – teams going younger. Look no further than this year’s purge of the Carolina Panthers…only one player left on the roster over 30 – Steve Smith)
Were mistakes made in hiring of the O&D coordinators last year?...without a doubt! Did the Bucs just pretend that wasn’t the reason and carry on as business as usual?...No! They made corrections (Olsen,Morris) and the team improved. 3-13 may not seem like great improvement – but records aren’t the only way to measure improvement. Those that actually watched – saw many younger players rise up, get much needed experience, (ie: Stroughter, Hayes, Freeman, Smith, Jackson, Talib) gain confidence, and vastly improve their play over the course of the season.
True fans know that although it’d be great – it’s not reality to win the SB every season (check with the half of the league that’s NEVER won one – and some teams never even having been to the game.
So will 2010 be a championship season for the Buccaneers? Most likely not – but I would be extremely surprised if they didn’t continue to grow the team chemistry that’s been started, improve their record markedly, and once again become a team with the chance to win whenever they line up….like the great Herm Edwards says…”that’s why they play the game”….prognosticators and so called “fans” be damned!!!...