Do the Buccaneers believe their own propaganda? By Chris Korman USA Today SportsJuly 15 2014Lovie Smith was a solid choice for the Bucs, but he won’t win if the organization doesn’t deal with its internal issues. (Kim Klement, USA TODAY Sports.)The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have posted a very long story on their website about new coach Lovie Smith’s first 100 days.It is aesthetically pleasing. The coach is pictured at the top of the page, set against a dark background and peering at you with a look that is somehow both bemused and determined. It helps that there is a giant skull — the Buccaneers logo — over his right shoulder.Of course the story that follows is complete hooey, a barely veiled attempt at imbuing the taciturn Smith with personality and warmth while winning over fans with what appears to be a sophisticated effort to replicate one of media’s hottest trends, so-called “longform.”The tale is saccharine and gooey from the beginning. It starts by telling us about Smith’s most memorable time during his recent one-year forced hiatus from coaching: the day he took care of his infant grandson, Jackson.Immediately, there’s a sort of uncomfortable parallel being made. Taking care of a baby, you see, is a daunting task for a Football Man, because, apparently, Tough Men do not do this sort of thing. And if they do, it is only to prove a point.This day, we are told, is “a chance to build stronger bonds, to become the center of each other’s worlds, and in a more practical sense, to prove one’s worth as a caregiver and guardian.”On that last issue, it stands to reason that Smith, if he has a grandson, has already given care to and guarded a child. He’s proven in that area, though, as is often the case for football coaches, he was probably absent far more often than the average father. As for the “center of each other’s worlds” part, most babies prefer their parents, pacifier, family cat, the stairs or a particular flavor of yogurt pouch for that role, at least at that age.We are eventually told that Smith took meticulous notes about the day. Every 10 minutes — 10 minutes people! — he wrote down what he did with his grandson. Smith notes that Jackson began crying upon being taken outside, so Smith, ever a man of action and never wavering to find a solution to the most daunting of problems, took him inside to rectify the issue. (One has to wonder whether Jackson may have been perturbed by his caregiver so frequently jotting down notes.)Quickly, then, we are treated to the reason for this anecdote:[Smith] wanted an account of the day for personal reasons, but he also created for himself a roadmap to follow the next time he was alone with his grandson, or any future grandkids. He now knows what worked and when, and how to repeat it. A plan is formed; nothing need be left to chance.“I’m one of those kinds of guys,” Smith says, simply.And can’t you just hear the words? They are uttered simply, not with any boastfulness but with authority that can only come from a man who successfully shepherded a baby through a basic day, and learned hard-won lessons about potentially pulling off a rare repeat.The story continues:Is there any question why the Glazer family, owners of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, interviewed only one person for their coaching vacancy in the early hours of 2014, and why the 10th head coach in franchise history was installed just three days after the ninth one left the building?Why, yes. There are questions. Many of them. Why would any business with a job opening that pays millions of dollars ever interview just one person for that position? Was it actually wise for the Glazers to move so quickly after their last two coaching hires compiled winning percentages of .354 and .344 respectively? And what made them sure that Lovie Smith, who won three postseason games in nine years as the head coach of the Chicago Bears, had learned the lessons needed to push his team further?Surely it was not taking care of a baby — a duty successfully accomplished by literally billions of people every day — right?Well, kinda. The “Buccaneers needed one of those guys,” the story says, referring, apparently, to people who take lots of notes.The story, which, again, was produced by the team, makes it seem as though what happened with the franchise had nothing to do with the decisions made by the people who run the franchise. It’s as if the Buccaneers became bad at football last year — and the several prior — due to outside forces, but now deserve credit for hiring the best coach/au pair out there.We are told that “The 2013 season was particularly ill-fated, marked not only by losses, but injuries, depth chart upheaval and the type of media attention a team doesn’t want.” Injuries, of course, happen to every team. Depth chart upheaval is not inherently bad or good. It could mean you have players who are equally lousy fighting for the same spot, or it could mean the opposite, that you have tremendous depth. And pinpointing the media attention as the problem, as opposed to the acts that caused it, is the surest way to know the Bucs believe their fans are nothing more than unthinking revenue providers.Surely those fans remember that the media attention stemmed from the fact that the former coach, Greg Schiano, turned out to be a terrible person who the players hated. He was accused of leaking drug test information about the team’s once-promising QB, Josh Freeman. It turned out that Freeman had tested positive — for switching his ADHD medication.Bucs co-chairman Joel Glazer touted Greg Schiano as the right coach two years ago. Now, his team appears unwilling to learn lessons from Schiano’s disastrous tenure. (Kirby Lee, USA TODAY Sports)Of course this is the same Schiano who, a scant two years ago, was dubbed, upon his hiring “the right man for the job,” by Bucs co-chairman Joel Glazier.Well, here’s the full quote:“During our thorough search, we met with numerous impressive candidates, but Coach Schiano surely distinguished himself. From his leadership skills to his impressive track record, he is, simply put, the right man for the job.”Ah. Simply put. Of course.There’s nothing inherently wrong with the Buccaneers producing this sort of story. Marketing is a part of any business. The Bucs are paying Smith more than $5 million a year. Why not support him with propaganda?You just have to wonder if the Bucs might believe their own version of reality. Do the decision-makers actually think this sappy Disney-esque treatment accurately reflects the situation they are charged with changing? That the losses of past years were mostly bad luck, and Lovie Smith’s mere presence is a fix?“In one fell swoop – in one inspired hire that was lauded across the national media platform – the Buccaneers harkened back to the success of their past and ensured an atmosphere of stability and trust,” the story says.Smith is a good hire. Many coaches are better the second time around. Whether hiring a guy who was out of work is “inspired” can be debated. But given the messy shape of the franchise and the nostalgia created by hiring a former assistant, this was a solid move. And, to be fair, the story does not completely evade discussing some of the challenges Smith will face.But the Bucs ensured nothing by hiring Lovie Smith. They put a man in a job, a very complicated job that requires him to coach and cajole millionaire athletes — many of them not even 25-years-old — to win games against their peers, all while Smith must deal with the whims of billionaire owners.His success will depend on the quality of the players on his roster and the intelligence of his staff and whether the people who run the team learned any number of lessons and of course luck and 100 other things — though none of them will have much to do with that one time it was his turn to watch his grandson.
I think this is an unnecessarily harsh attack on a team writer. Yes, the story has a positive spin and does show a ‘human’ side of man that is guiding the Bucs. But I don’t think that view was forced upon the writer by the Buccaneers. It's a VERY good article IMO and well worth the read. It will take you some time to read it as it's 30,000 words. It has some very good insight into the thoughts and plans around how the Bucs are currently built. Read it and make your own decision.
It’s the offseason. Get over it. And who is this f*cker to rain on the parade? There is finally some sort of reason to feel some optimism, but nooooo, no fluff pieces allowed if they are deemed to fluffy.
I think this is an unnecessarily harsh attack on a team writer. Yes, the story has a positive spin and does show a 'human' side of man that is guiding the Bucs. But I don't think that view was forced upon the writer by the Buccaneers. It's a VERY good article IMO and well worth the read. It will take you some time to read it as it's 30,000 words. It has some very good insight into the thoughts and plans around how the Bucs are currently built. Read it and make your own decision.
I agree...I'm surprised this was a USA Today article. You'd think this would come from Charlie or Gil or someone with an ax to grind, not a national reporter. He must have been bored or something. I don't really understand the point of this attack article.
First the article says:[Smith] wanted an account of the day for personal reasons, but he also created for himself a roadmap to follow the next time he was alone with his grandson, or any future grandkids. He now knows what worked and when, and how to repeat it. A plan is formed; nothing need be left to chance.“I’m one of those kinds of guys,” Smith says, simply.Then the writer says: Well, kinda. The “Buccaneers needed one of those guys,” the story says, referring, apparently, to people who take lots of notesThis writer is clueless. The story he's quoting is clearly referring to a meticulous, note-taking, game planner as being "one of those guys" that we needed. How would I put any trust in an article written by someone who clearly can't read comprehensively himself. What a joke.
I thought this article was pretty uncalled for. I thought Scott’s article was great and shared some cool behind the scenes looks that I crave as an avid fan. Was it a written by a writer wearing pewter colored glasses? Why yes, it was in fact poste on buccaneers.com. Propaganda? Is there any team out there who isn’t trying to shed good light/media attention onto their squad?
Wow this article was so bad, couldn’t even get thru the whole thing. The guy is clueless.Here's his facebook in case you want to message him about the piece. I already did.https://www.facebook.com/chriskorman
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