When Tony Dungy speaks, people in the Tampa Bay area listen. Even the Glazers do. And with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' coaching search well under way, he's making his opinions clear: the Buccaneers should hire Lovie Smith. "Those would be the best moves they could make," Tony Dungy said on Twitter, referencing the possible hires of Rich McKay and Lovie Smith.
"I think he knows the lay of the land in the organization," Dungy told the Tampa Bay Times. "He's been there and knows how this thing really developed and how it got going well. [..] That loyalty factor and guys wanting to play for him and I think that's what he would bring and kind of bring this group together."
Dungy didn't stop praising his former linebackers coach there, though. "There are a lot of people that would like to work for him. [..] I think Lovie knows how to win in the NFL, he knows a lot of good people. He would have a lot of people who would love to work for him."
And for good measure, Dungy then denied being interesting in returning to any team, whether as a coach or as a front office executive. To be clear, he told the Times "No. No. No. No. No." Five times is a charm, I guess?
Lovie Smith to Tampa is not a done deal. Not yet, anyway. But we've had probably the most respected figure in Tampa Bay sports endorse the man, we've seen strong reports that he's the favorite for the job, and the only other name we've even heard floating around was that of Gary Kubiak. And with all due respect to Kubiak, he's not remotely the candidate Lovie Smith is.
But then Smith may decide that Tampa really isn't right for him. There's a young quarterback, but I wouldn't exactly call him a franchise passer or even a very promising player. There's no general manager right now and while there's a lot of talent, there are some concerns on offense, too. This is not a perfect job opening, after all. Still, it looks like Smith-to-Tampa is likely to happen. We'll find over the coming week or so whether it will become reality.