The Tampa Bay Buccaneers haven't been a fun team in quite a few years. They went from a free-flowing, fun but undisciplined head coach in Raheem Morris to a stern killjoy in Greg Schiano, too a boring, nondescript coach in Lovie Smith. Now they have Dirk Koetter, who's certainly more energetic than either of the last two coaches. I don't quite know whether he's a fun coach, though.
In comes offensive coordinator Todd Monken, who held his first press conference today. Aside from emphasizing that winning games comes down to simply having talent and wanting explosive plays, Monken wanted to get energy and fun back on offense.
"I like having fun. I don't know why it has to feel like such drudgery," Monken said. "I just don't. I've never understood that. I want a fight song. We don't even have a fight song, I don't think. I want a fight song. Is there a fight song? Cool. You get to sing a fight song. Call me a college guy. When I was in Jacksonville they called me a college guy. That's great, I love it. I love coaching, the excitement of it, why can't it be fun?
"Watch the Carolina Panthers. They have fun! That looks like fun to me. I wanna have fun. I want our quarterback to have fun. I want our guys to have fun doing it together. I want the locker room to be fun. Is that harder in a pro setting? Yes, because of the change. You have so many different pieces that change, you gotta make that blend together, and guys that play for more than just themselves. Which is difficult in a pro setting because of the money, as we know.
"You can still make it work. There's still gotta be more than just the money. There's gotta be more than just that. The feeling of getting better and doing it for your teammates. And the excitement of getting better, and doing it with some people you care about."
There's no reason why winning has to be stern and boring. When people enjoy their work, they perform better. When players are having fun on the field, that certainly doesn't seem to hurt -- even if the NFL has done everything it can to take the fun out of celebrations. As Monken says: the Carolina Panthers are in the Super Bowl, look like the best team in the NFL, and they clearly have a lot of fun on the field.
So that'll be new. Fun. On the field. I wonder how that works.