I was never a fan of Jon Gruden, so I was ecstatic today when news broke that he and Tampa Bay Buccaneers GM Bruce Allen were fired. Gruden won a Super Bowl in his first season and he spent that "football capital" as the team limped between crappy finishes in the years since. This season, the Bucs started 9-3 before losing four consecutive games to miss the playoffs.
As someone who once thought Alvin Harper was the man who would take the Bucs to the playoffs and celebrated a birthday with Jeff Davis, I am not a bandwagon fan. In fact, I wear my Bucco Bruce proudly. That's why I hated Gruden; I felt he was destroying the franchise. One Super Bowl was great, but he spent his entire career trying to destroy the personalities on the team. The first to go was Keyshawn Johnson, who as much as I liked him, was not a fan favorite. But then Warren Sapp and John Lynch followed. There are still women in Tampa who have not forgiven Gruden for releasing Lynch.
Only one season came close to the Bucs Super Bowl season; an 11-5 record in 2005 that ended with a wild-card loss to Washington. The last two seasons, the Bucs finished 9-7 but 9-7 teams don't win Super Bowls. And that is the one thing missing out of this; the Bucs ownership wants to win. The Glazer family owns Manchester United, the world's most popular soccer team and a traditional power. People in Tampa assumed the Glazers were happy with Gruden and content to play with their soccer ball. Apparently not.
I've been on the 'Fire Jon Gruden Bandwagon' a long time. At our old site, The Sporting Orange, we made a pretty accurate characterization of Gruden; angry, dishonest, egomaniac, selfish and a jackass. Some fans will say, "Yeah, but he won a Super Bowl!" He did, but with Rich McKay as GM who has rebuilt the Atlanta Falcons. The Gruden-Allen regime only made the playoffs twice (2005 and 2007). For all the talk of Gruden being an offensive genius, the best finished the Bucs had in his tenure was 18th in scoring offense (three times). The average finish was 21st. Under conservative, play-it-safe Tony Dungy? 20th. Aside from one season, Gruden brought nothing of value to the Buccaneers franchise.
I hope Gruden is far, far away next season, spoiling someone else's Sundays. No matter who the Bucs hire, I think the Glazers will make an educated decision. I do request that the coach moves the Bucs towards this; "At quarterback, number 15, TIMMMMM TEBOWWWWW!"