USA TODAY Sports
Monte Kiffin is returning to the NFL, as the Cowboys' defensive coordinator.
Monte Kiffin is a legend among Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans. He came to Tampa as Tony Dungy's defensive coordinator in 1996, and spent the following thirteen seasons with the Bucs, crafting one of the best defenses to ever grace the NFL. Dungy is often recognized as the originator of Tampa 2 defense, but Monte Kiffin was a crucial part of that development. When Dungy left, he produced one of the best single-season defenses in NFL history, which led to the Bucs' only Super Bowl championship so far.
Unfortunately, Kiffin's also infamous for one other fact: announcing his departure from Tampa in the middle of a playoff run, which led to a four-game slide and a defensive collapse when the team needed just one win to secure a playoff berth. This led to Jon Gruden's firing, Raheem Morris being named head coach, three years of mediocrity and now Greg Schiano as Tampa Bay's head coach. Meanwhile, Monte spent four years in college with his son Lane Kiffin, with controversy following the duo wherever they went. Lane was the offensive genius who broke NCAA rules at every turn, even leaving vaunted Tennessee after just one season to go coach at USC.
Bucs fans may have hoped for Kiffin's return to Tampa, but that was never going to happen. Monte would want complete control over his defense, while Greg Schiano wants to run his own style of defense. Schiano's defense is much more aggressive than Kiffin's, focusing on constant blitzes. That's not going to change as long as Schiano is head coach, and you won't see anyone like Monte Kiffin in Tampa during that period. That may be a good thing, too, since Monte Kiffin struggled mightily to defend the various college offenses and with an increasing college influence in the NFL, we may see Kiffin outwitted more than we're used to.
Still, it's always good to have an old legend back in the NFL. Blogging the Boys should have you covered on all the Monte Kiffin and Cowboys coverage.