The last three Buccaneers head coaches have displayed different ways to display exuberance on the sidelines after a big play or a touchdown. The ages of the coaches typically marked what degree of celebration would usually occur.
Tony Dungy (1996-2001), who was in his 40s when coaching in Tampa Bay, was always stoic, cracking a smile to show he was pleased, but typically having his arms crossed and showing little emotion.
Jon Gruden (2002-08), who was in his late 30s when he presided over the Buccaneers, was more demonstrative, pumping his fists and shouting out phrases like, “Boom!” “Yeah, baby!” and some choice four-letter words.
Thirty-four year old head coach Raheem Morris is part of Generation X and is known for his hip-bumps, chest-bumps and other celebrations that involve body parts. Morris’ chest-bumps aren’t just reserved for his players, either.
During Monday’s post-game press conference following Tampa Bay’s 20-7 victory at Carolina, Morris discussed his display of emotion during the games each Sunday with offensive coordinator Greg Olson on the sidelines.
“It’s us being us,” Morris said. “Me and Olie got critized last year for our – whatever you want to call it … our jump-bump thing – but that’s us. When we’re together, that’s us as a family. We coach that way. We compete that way when we coach against each other in the OTA (organized team activity) days on the sidelines. Our players feed off that. Sammie Stroughter and Kellen Winslow – those guys are excitable guys. That’s how they play and feed off us with chest bumps, side bumps, elbow-smashes, penalties – in the Houston game that was Greg Olson. They feed off that stuff from us.”
The Buccaneers are the second-youngest team in the league this year and only have six players over the age of 30 on its roster – cornerback Ronde Barber, fullback Earnest Graham, guard Keydrick Vincent, defensive end Stylez G. White and tight ends John Gilmore and Jerramy Stevens. One of the reasons why the players are so drawn to Morris and follow his lead is because he’s 34 years old and can relate to the younger generation.
“I’m 34, Olie is 35 and we’re having fun,” Morris said.
While Olson is 47 – not 35 – he certainly looks young. Having the youthful Morris around helps Olson act younger than his age with the players.
“We can sit there with our arms crossed with straight faces and put our finger up for the extra point, but that’s not us,” Morris said. “We’d rather do a chest bump and a flying arm bar and everything else. We’ve already talked about it before so before I do my arm bar and my chest bump, I’ve already let [special teams coordinator] Richie [Bisaccia] know to kick the extra point and he sends them out there while we are arm-barring and chest-bumping.”
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