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The Buccaneers almost hired Kevin Gilbride as head coach in 2012

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New York Giants Super Bowl XLVI Media Availability Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers hired Greg Schiano as their head coach in 2012, after nearly reaching an agreement with Chip Kelly and seeing him back out at the last minute. Schiano’s hire ended an extensive and troubled head-coaching search that saw them interview a vast array of candidates, and settling on arguably the worst of the lot.

One coach that wasn’t reported to be on their candidate list at the time: then New York Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride. And yet, he came awfully close to being the Bucs’ head coach.

Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio has spent the past months telling his readers that the Bucs wanted to hire him, but that they weren’t willing to wait until after the Super Bowl to hire him, as Gilbride was headed there with the Giants. Those reports flew under the radar, but JoeBucsFan dug them up yesterday.

The Bucs then ended up hiring Schiano, which predictably didn’t work out as the Bucs became the laughing stock of the NFL in 2013. Oops. Perhaps that would have been better with Gilbride, but that’s a little doubtful: the long-time coordinator retired after the 2012 season, when he came under heavy criticism. There’s no real reason to believe he’d do better as the Bucs head coach, then.

Still, it would’ve been an interesting alternative to Schiano. Perhaps the Bucs would have been less laughing-stocky. Or perhaps the exact same thing would’ve happened. Who knows?