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December 1, 2011 @ 5:39 pm
Current rating: 3.33 Stars/3 Votes

The Tampa Two-Step

Written by Chidi
Chidi Ahanotu


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Former Buccaneers DE Chidi Ahanotu warns Tampa Bay fans that they should be careful for what they ask for when calling for Raheem Morris' head, and that they should have more patience with the team's third-year head coach.

Talk of the Buccaneers history has been our invention of the “Tampa 2” defense. We became famous for it and league-wide other teams copy it. But when it comes to the history of our head coaches it also has become famous, I call it the “Tampa Two-Step.”

As the story goes, the Buccaneers, the most laughed at football franchise in the history of the NFL, had a miracle bestowed on it. That miracle was the purchase of the team by the Glazer family in 1995 and their hiring of Tony Dungy in 1996. The laughing stock of the NFL soon became a feared and dreaded powerhouse under Dungy’s leadership in ‘96 and the playoff season that followed in ‘97.

But after years of turning the franchise around but never reaching an “oh so close” Super Bowl appearance, the Tampa Bay fans began calling for his head. Ungrateful Bucs fans began to rant and rave, screaming for the firing of this once-upon-a-time miracle head coach who turned the franchise around.

So once again here we are facing the clamor of the naysayers calling for a Buccaneers head coach’s head. Head coach Raheem Morris’ five-game losing streak has sparked an angry mob forming in the courtyard, demanding their head coach to be fired. We went through this before.

Oh yes, see after Dungy was eventually fired there came Jon Gruden. Oh the fans loved this fiery coach from the first day and cried that he’s the Godsend that we have been waiting for to finally take us to the promised land – the Super Bowl. And by golly sure enough, in his first year of being the head coach, Gruden won the first Super Bowl in franchise history. Oh how the fans adored him and all was well in Bucland.

Alas, all that glitters ain’t gold. After years of dismantling and destroying the Buccaneers that Dungy created, Gruden faced the angry mob of Bucs fans, too, that called for his head. Eventually, the cry for Gruden’s firing grew too great and the fans got what they wanted again, the coach was fired.

Gruden was replaced with Morris and oh the fans were oh so happy to have Gruden gone. Sure, Morris was young and had absolutely no experience as a head coach or a coordinator, but anything was better than that lousy Gruden. And the fans rejoiced like kids at Christmas tingling with expectation and endless possibilities. Sure, this could be a bad coaching choice but at least it wasn’t Gruden anymore and anything was possible. This coach could be great.

Tampa Bay fans endured patiently through a sub-par “rebuilding” first year with Morris as a new head coach. In the second year, the fans’ patience was rewarded with a wonderful 10-win season. Oh the Bucs fans were happy, the Bucs players were riding sky high and full of pride and boasts, and the Bucs head coach was loved by Bucs fans once again.

Sadly, this honeymoon wasn’t meant to last. The third year for Morris has brought us here once again with Tampa Bay fans crying out for the head coach to go. They say Morris’ job is on the line and he is in the hot seat.

This tale of the history of the Buccaneers head coaches is what I call the “Tampa Two-Step.” The dance goes like this: embrace your head coach and hold him tight, shower him with praise and dosie doe, spin him around and take him to the top, then when his stock starts to drop stomp on him till his eyes pop.

Try it at home in your spare time, folks. All the Bucs fans are doing it. Why, it’s the latest crave since 1996 around here. 

I don’t know about you, but I for one sure am tired of doing this dance. Aren’t you?

Give the damn head coach a chance. He’s only been here three years. And he inherited a mess, which was replaced with what is the youngest football team in the NFL over the last two seasons.

Hey Raheem, you’ve got my vote of approval. I have faith that you are growing something mighty special. And in years to come, this Buccaneers team will have once again become legendary. Maybe it may take a year or two – shoot maybe three. But I know that you are growing some homegrown greatness. Sure, we may have some growing pains and the fickle fans will start to groaning as usual, but stick to the plan.

Bucs fans – stop this darned “Tampa Two-Step” and stick it out with a coach for once. I never seen anything like it. Bucs fans just can’t be satisfied. You could turn the worst NFL team around to legendary status, but Tampa Bay fans won’t be satisfied. You can take the team to its very first Super Bowl and win it all, but Bucs fans won’t be satisfied. All they seem to want is to complain and win ALL the time.

Hello to reality, folks. You just can’t win all the time and there just may be some years in a row when the going gets tough and losing is all around. But I bet that if you stuck with a darned head coach for more than three years – how about try 10 years – then I’m betting that when you look up after all those years you will see that you have yourself a winning team with a winning overall record. Shoot, even some division championships, conference championships, and Super Bowls.

Rah you got my vote of confidence. At the very least sticking with you will stop this darned dosie doe “Tampa Two-Step.”

It’s got my head spinning. Go Bucs.

Last modified on Thursday, 22 December 2011 16:37

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  • avatar

    He has a point. It's not all Raheem's fault. Players still have to play. When you lost a game in High School did everyone blame the coach? No, because he doesn't suck the team does.
  • avatar

    PS Good article CHIDI, you've certainly got us chatting it up in here!
  • avatar

    Hey, as fans, all we ultimately really experience is the "marketing" arm of football. I never played in the NFL, but I've played football, and much like being in the Army (which I've also done): Unless you've been there, you don't entirely "get" it. We need to give Raheem a chance. Why do coaches do a lot of the things they do? Well, they do interviews and the "say" "things"..... why? Well, depends. Sometimes what they say is "marketing", sometimes, as strategy, outright deception and sometimes, IT IS FOR THE PLAYERS. The HARD talk is done in house. What ELSE is Raheem going to say? "Oh, yeah, well, they've all taken a step backwards, I'm really disappointed and expect to lose my job". NO. No, no, no, no, no. This servers no PURPOSE. The only purpose as a coach is to motivate to win the NEXT game. Whatever is said publicly and privately is designed with the intention of motivating the PLAYERS FIRST, marketing (fan "fluff") second. Belichick and several others just barely care about the marketing end and remain stoic, vague and cryptic if they say anything at all. Raheem is a motivator. I don't know what goes on in the locker room, but from experience, he's ripping and ranting at those who need it, while publicly he's PROTECTING his young team. That sends a strong message and in my mind, the RIGHT message for the players (regardless of what us fans think).
  • avatar

    I like Raheem, but he takes the blame for everything, even stuff that has nothing to do with him (Like when Talib had the unsportsmanlike penalty against Chicago on the Ronde sack). If you are taking the blame for stuff like that then u have to go. That is strictly a one person deal. I want us to get a great OC like Norv Turner boost the offense, which I think lacks. Also why does Raheem keep running man? We do not have the people for that, we are a zone team! He puts Biggers and Myron Lewis on Jordy Nelson, that is disrespect and he made them pay for it. Stuff like that makes me question him. I like his attitude tho, I like lively coaches. I do say next year will be the make or break year tho. One last thing I wish he would stop doing is making excuses. There are more things like the players we have, but he cant do anything about that, but I will see how he finishes up the season. We are headed for a good draft pick. haha
  • avatar

    For once, I am in Chidi's corner. Well said and I agree whole-heartedly with the article. While some specifics may not apply to everyone, the message boards are full of 'what-have'you-done-for-me-latelys'. The coach and GM inherited the worst roster in the league three years ago and agreed then that they would take the slower approach of building the roster through the draft. While they have taken this theory to the utmost extreme, I respect them for that and not bowing to the masses who demand the Boldins/Marshalls/Sproles free agents annually to speed things along. We went through the pain of year 1 with 3 wins and then had a 2010 season where everything lined up (ie. schedule, unexpected good play from rooks, good fortune at end of games, etc) for this young roster to over-achieve. Now that reality has set in and we have a more difficult schedule, we are seeing where the roster is. It is full of young (and yes, talented) players in the formative stages of their professional careers and they are getting very good experience. Of course the D will regress - we're playing a foursome of rookies and 2nd year players as our main starters on the D-line (pre-McCoy injury). Yes, they have made some errors in player selection and judgement. But the base of a good team for years to come is already here. As PR has reported, the Bucs are now entering the phase of team development where vets can be added to the mix to fill out a very competitive roster. After all, if we keep retaining 10 drafted rookies from each draft class from now on, we'll be forced to cut many of the guys we're still developing. In fact, this is about the time when the Bucs should aim at certain players in the draft / FA and trade picks to get the premium players to take us over the top. Otherwise, by just bringing in an annual mass of rooks from now on, we'll be going against what was built in the '09-'11 draft plans. I still agree that the GM/coach's master plan is intact and can/should work in the long term. It's just that the results on the field are just not where the masses expect in the short-medium term, especially after expectations were ridiculously raised too high with the surprise of 2010. Keep on the path, Bucs!
  • avatar

    Raheem is not a bad coach. This is what you get when you spend the least amount of money than every other team in the NFL for 6+ years. The talent level is horrible. We have no depth and no veteran leadership, besides Barber. Last year was the worst thing that ever could have happened to this organization, because Dominick and Morris got too high on themselves and their plan. It reinforced the Glazers decision to keep spending less. Everything that could happen in a good way happened last year and it gave a little too much credibility to guys that still have a lot to learn. If the owners do not start spending and we do not increase the talent level we will not get better. The front office is worried about making a mistake on a high-priced free agent? Well, they basically did that with their contract for Black. You have to take some chances, because there is no guarantee with any player... veteran or rookie. It's okay to be smart about it, but you can't just sit tight every year and hope your players get THAT much better over the offseason. I say give Raheem the resources he needs to be successful and then we can start to judge his coaching ability. And I just want to get a new OC to shut all these fans up... he is not a problem. Our QB has played horrible this year. No OC would have looked good with the way Freeman has played this year.
  • avatar

    It's time to let Raheem go. This team has regressed. With young players, an experienced coach can COACH them to do better. Cheering them on did fine last year, but it's not working now. Is Jeff Fisher looking to make a comeback?
  • avatar

    Hire a senior-level OC and DC such as Norv Turner and Jack Del Rio. It is what should have been done day one albeit the right people. If you put an inexperienced, possibly incompentent manager (coach) in a new position, surround him with senior-level subordinates (OC and DC) allowing them to “manage upward” limiting the damage that could be done should the superior turn out to be incompetent. This was done properly at Pittsburgh when Tomlin was named HC. We doubled down here and allowed Morris to also assume the position of DC, turning an on-time failure into mutually assured destruction! I don't want to fire Morris......yet! But not even Chidi can be satisfied with the way things are going. I am not pushing to hire Norv Turner per se, but to hire senior-level coordinators, ones that have been around the league, acquired a varied depth of experience and could be a braintrust to a new coach. I would take that approach first before we get rid of Morris because if we do, we're rebuilding all over again. No top-level coach is going to come here expecting to compete in one of the most competitive divisions in the NFL, buy into the Glazer/Dominik Austerity Program and pick up where Morris left off. No, he will want total control and that means goodbye Dominik or hello to another Morris clone, who wants to be coach so bad that he would take the job for free! Pick your poison!
  • avatar

    Chidi, thank you so much for this great, passionate article. GO BUCS
  • avatar

    Chidi, why on earth would we give Raheem ten years with the product he has marched out on to the field this year? Losing is one thing, but it is the way they have lost is the problem. Penalties, drops, staring down receivers, missed assignments over and over again, dumb clock management. Name one second year player that has gotten better under this staff. Just about all of the players that were any good last year are playing worse this year. How hard is it to get people not to false start? How hard is it to get the star TE to stop holding? The HC is clearly not holding players accountable and they are running all over him. It is time to show improvement over the last few games or it will be time to clean house. BTW, fans did not get those coaches fired, the Owners fired them.
  • avatar

    Love your writing Chidi. Great player's perspective. But as I recall, the players wanted Richard Williamson to remain Head Coach back in the day. Heck, when Eagles fans are looking to jettison Andy Ried, it's no surprise that our apathetic fan base wants to get rid of Dungy, Gruden and now Raheem who they didn't want in the first place. Their belief is that he was hired for his Blue Light Special price tag and not his coaching acumen. He had a tough hill to climb from the start. People around here are unique in the sense that they lack the passion for the local team as compared to other NFL cities. There's Seattle with a poor record too yet they still represent as the 12th Man. Here, the 12th man might be the the number of fans in the upper level. Fans here want star players. Fans here want to go to the game to be seen at "the place to be" evidenced by the sellouts of the nationally televised games, not to cheer on their team. As soon as the original 10 year commitment expired, the original season ticket holders abandoned ship. So now we have the cries for Bill Cower who has obviously lost his desire to coach but might still like to cash a 6 million dollar a year check. I had high hopes for Raheem and Mark Dominik and admired the Glazer's decision to promote from within. But right now the team looks to be in disarray. They seem to be regressing. The potential on display last season has vanished. It won't be long before fans want the team to "Suck for Luck".
  • avatar

    Just a bad article with very little logic. Am I missing the progress we are making? Our defense is improved over.....oh wait, this may end up being our worst defense in our storied history. At least our talented young QB is .... Wait, he looks lost compared to last year. Hey, at least we play fundamental, sound,, disciplined football..... Wait, we may lead the league in penalties by years end. Chidi, this article disqualifies any of your opinions going forward because this level of bias is unprofessional. Almost sounds like you are trying to justify a losing argument to protect a friend, makes you wonder.
  • avatar

    Chidi, spoken like a previous player with little experience outside of the entitlement football world. I thought you were a decent player back then. From a fans point of view it's no difference than any other business in the real world. I really like Coach Morris and I am pulling for him, but doubt has come into the picture for me now. I just moved back to town and I would really like to buy season tickets again in Season 2012, but I won't unless there are changes forth coming. This is a poor disciplined team and it starts from the GM down. This is not a well coached team on offense and defense and it starts from the GM down. I am not sure if we have selected the most talented players but I will wait until next season to determine that issue. Toney Dungy was a good Coach and I was not one of the people looking to fire him, but it was obvious to many that the talented players that Sam Wyche had drafted were at or just a hair over their prime and the time was either win a superbowl now or play the youth game early. That was the only reason why Jon Gruden came to the Bucs. Well he got us that Superbowl and most of us back then probably said that no matter what happns after that he would get 3-4 years because of that trophy. Thie GM, Head Coach and Defensive Coordinator had no present job title experience and the Offensive Coordinator had very little too. I don't blame the Glazers for not wasting millions, but I will blame them if they do not do something about what is going on before the next draft.
  • avatar

    Pink Harbough inherited a team that lost to us at home 21 nothing. The 49ers hit a home run hiring him. What's upsetting is seeing a team regress, seeing a Morris led defense at 31 in the league. Fire the O.C., but the defense is worse.
  • avatar

    I agree with Chidi ultimately, but I also believe that there have been some missteps and I wouldn't mind seeing some honesty about it. They missed in letting Caddy go. They missed in not going after Sproles in free agency. More important than the free agents they missed has been the re-signing of Black. Black has done nothing to justify the contract and he's been in the organization. Overall I really agree that Raheem has the chance to grow into a Tomlin like coach but I just wish that the front office would make it a little easier for the guy... how about even a few key free agent signings to help fill things out and hopefully they realize the error of their ways and part ways with Joe Baker too.
  • avatar

    Rah is fine I'm all for keeping him its olsen and his playcalling that need to go. Sorry but he has had his chances with this team and our offense is offensive.
  • avatar

    Sorry Chidi, but Rahim was barely qualified to be a Defensive Coordinator and got thrust into the HC job because he was cheap and the Glazers didn't want to have to pay two coaches prime money (since thay were stuck paying Gruden's contract.) His defense is now 31st in the league, and is worse statistically than the DC he fired. He is doing nothing to fill seats in the stadium and if you add all those up, he has to go!!!!!! Look at what Harbaugh has done in San Francisco.....one year turn around.....oh yeah, he had big time college football head coaching experience....that crap that it takes three years to build a winner is no longer true. With all the fantastic draft picks (the Bucs GM says so) that they have had, and their declaration that they can build entirely through the draft is BUNK!! Dungy and Gruden both brought in some experienced vets to supplement their young guns, and they won fast. Bottom line is this guy is way over his head and he needs to go!
  • avatar

    People forget that Morris was headed to St. Louis and Denver for HC interviews before the Bucs hired him as the HC. I will agree that Changes need to be made starting with Olsen and Morris as the OC and DC. But Morris as the HC should not change. I think the Mark D will add some veteran players, make the OC and DC changes and this team will be ok...
  • avatar

    Great article Chidi. On a side note, I think I've heard just about enough about the 49ers and "Oh, why oh why can't we be like them? They did it, why can't we do it?" Harbaugh is a good coach, but he inherited a veteran team with players in key positions that are in their prime. A. Smith, P. Willis, V. Davis, N. Bowman, M. Crabtree, J. Smith, B. Edwards, T. Ginn Jr., C. Rodgers and J. Staley are all players in their prime. A. Smith has been in 6 different offenses so how hard could it be to pick up another one that is finally a good fit for him? We have the youngest starters in the league...for two seasons in a row. Big difference.
  • avatar

    You could've easily said that this year's Harbaugh was last year's Raheem. What will you say next year about Harbaugh if the team suffers then?? I'm fine with keeping Raheem but we need a new OC, replace our outside LBs and find an awesome replacement for Ronde after this season...
  • avatar

    Amen Chidi....I'm not sure why you put yourself in the center of controversy...but I'm with you....Keep up the good work...and don't forget to duck
  • avatar

    Hey, I loved tony dungy still do but we were so good so long but he never got us what we had the talent for the super bowl enter jon gruden he got us over the top but never wanted to budge on anything like a young quaterback and could not get us back to the playoffs his time was up.it,s all about hope we have it with the great owners we had it with dungy and gruden they gave us hope they sold tickets but the way this team is playing is nonsense. i'm a hardcore bucs fan and find myself watching the game saying you guys suck .hope is down we need to bring in bill cowher and you will see tickets sells and hope go up. Alot of coaching problems are going on here. Yes one time we did stink and never expected anything out of our team now we do thats just the way it is.We expect more then this and somebody needs to get that from them.
  • avatar

    Well said, but I still think Olson needs to go.
  • avatar

    Chidi, With the utmost respect, I have been a fan since 1976 and I can assure you I have the patience of a saint. However there are a few burning questions that our organization has yet to answer. First, why does the term "youth movement" have to be married to being 29 million under the salary cap? It seems to me the only thing I can look forward to is John McCargo IV. Secondly, I understand we need cap space to sign our young players for the future but in all honesty, the only thing I see is our young players playing themselves out of lucrative deals this season. Third, our organization has a weak personal conduct code. Once the last game of the season is over, I start a novena hoping none of our players get caught. Yes, get caught. Never mind doing something they shouldn't. If we are going to start a "culture" of winning, we need to start a "culture" of positive conduct. Oh and by the way, you were a beast. All the best!
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